Last night my daughter wet her bed (not normal), and I learned something about burnout.
She showed up at 1:40am, crying and knocking quietly on our door.
I could tell she felt sorry and embarrassed at the “accident,” but I sensed something else hurt her 4-year-old heart even more.
She was feeling alone.
So I hugged her, scooped her up back to her room, made a pallet on the floor, stripped off her sheets, and laid down with her for a while.
We turned on her lantern and she slowly drifted off as light streamed through holes in the lid, casting stars on the ceiling.
As I lay there, I realized two things I hadn’t thought of in the same way before.
First, just like damp sheets aren’t the end of the world but they can FEEL that way at 1:40am, most crises we face in burnout aren’t that big of a deal either, but they FEEL that way because we’re so tired.
Weariness makes everything worse.
Second, my daughter’s deepest pain wasn’t the “issue” of the bed but the fact that she felt alone.
Loneliness makes everything worse, too.
In burnout, what usually hurts the most isn’t the problems we face but feeling there’s no one to face them with us.
When we create space to finally rest and we take steps to find someone to walk with us, the “long night” of burnout won’t feel so bad.
We might even see the stars.