Tired of All the Running

Open Circle Student

Keeping ourselves busy is so often a veil that we use to hide from having to consider the questions that lie deep within us or the truths that we’d rather not face. It’s easier to persist in a perpetual state of motion than to stop and embrace the vulnerability that comes from within. But, without taking time to pause and reflect, our life is much like the cloud of dust we kick up behind us as we race to our next destination—a series of fleeting moments that quickly disintegrate into nothingness.

I was a victim of this “busyness” for many years—throughout my time as an undergraduate and well into my years as a graduate student. Oddly enough, though, life has a way of slowing us down when we most need it, and for me it certainly did as I ran head-first into some major changes and challenges in my life. Some of the things I was facing made me question who I am and what I stand for as a person. They made me lose the self-confidence that I used to be so proud of. They made me seek validation from others instead of from myself. And, they instilled in me a deep exhaustion. I was so tired of all the running.

But, through it all, there was always a tiny flame deep down inside of me that kept burning. It was the light that kept me going when all around me there was darkness. It was hope. It was strength. It was courage. And it gave me the will to carry on even though there were times when I really didn’t know how I would.

Our first and foremost task is to
faithfully to care for the inward fire
so that when it is really needed it can
offer warmth and light to lost travelers.

~ Henri Nouwen ~

For me, Student Open Circle’s Becoming Yourself Series was a step in my own journey towards reigniting the fire within me. It gave me the time to take pause in my life and to reflect on some very important questions around who I am, what my values are, and how I enact and would like to enact them in my daily life. And more importantly, it reminded me that I am not alone in my journey and I am not alone in my courage—we are all connected by our shared humanity.

The most important work that I will ever do is not that which is tied to papers, presentations, or even the grandest of accolades. It is instead the work that I must do every day to tend to my inner flame—to nurture it when it’s just a glimmer, to sustain it when it’s a fire, and to love it always, no matter its state. As I do this, day in and day out, I become who I truly am, letting my authentic self shine strong and bright.