energy – noun | \ˈe-nər-jē\
: ability to be active : the physical or mental strength that allows you to do things
: natural enthusiasm and effort
: usable power that comes from heat, electricity, etc.
On Sunday, after we’d all eaten more pizza than we should have, after I nearly forgot the homemade zucchini bread in the back of the van and had to run out to fetch it, and after my sisters presented Dad with a new set of corn hole boxes, crafted by my brother-in-law Troy, and a set of hand stitched bean bags purchased from a local seamstress, we all headed to the back yard for a Father’s Day corn-hole match up. Dad and I took on Steve and our oldest son.
Let’s just say that Dad got the short end of the stick on that pairing, and Steve and Nicholas handily beat us 21 to … well, I don’t even remember. I think it was 3. What I do remember was that my sunscreen was pooling in rows of sweat along my neck and arms, and both my sisters had already taken the babies inside because even in the shade their cheeks had turned bright red. Later, when we got back in the van, the thermometer read 90.
There’s not much to do when it’s that hot. Last weekend Steve and I tried walking around the gardens of the Indianapolis Museum of Art in temperatures hovering just below 90. After an hour or so, we got in the car and headed straight to Starbucks for Frappucinos. We needed the hydration, of course. This weekend, in addition to the short-lived corn-hole tournament, we also worked out in the yard a little, but not without instantly turning into a sweaty mess. We are doing less and feeling worse. It’s like we just don’t have any energy.
It’s ironic, right, that the sun, our planet’s greatest source of energy, would actually deplete us of ours? I think I used the phrase “sucked the life out of me” at one point this weekend to describe the effects of the heat. I also used that phrase about a few other energy-sapping activities in my life recently. And just like the warm weather which I so desperately longed for mere weeks ago, when it was still cold and dreary in April, most things which sap my energy are good and life-giving up to a point.
Last Friday when I officially ran out of creative and personal, even spiritual, energy following a certain project that has, say it with me, “sucked the life out of me,” a friend invited me and a few other people to answer the questions that entrepreneur Darren Rowse of Problogger famously recommends as a daily habit:
- What gave me energy today?
- What did I do today that seemed to give other people energy?
On that particular day, my answer was “nothing.” Nothing gave me energy, and nothing coming from me felt life-giving in that way either. My friend even allowed us to answer for the entire week, not just a day. And still, I had nothing. I’m on empty, I wrote.
But though I had nothing to give, I knew I couldn’t persist on empty, even for myself. I needed to be filled up. So, over the weekend I read, I walked, I slept in, I watched television. I cooked and baked and cleaned up a mess I’d been avoiding. I prayed and journaled and sang. I ate pizza twice, and salad twice, too. I snuggled babies and played building blocks with my nephew and went to an animated children’s movie with my husband and three teenaged sons. And we all loved it. I even started working on a little paper art project I’d been talking about for weeks, and though it’s not done, getting started energized me.
The heat is still stifling, and not all of those life-sucking projects are completely finished, but I started off this week with more energy than I’ve had in weeks. Next time, I think I’ll fill up before I’m left running on fumes.
What’s YOUR word of the week? Drop it into the comments section, or share it on this week’s Facebook post. If you post about your word on your blog, please slip the link into a comment below so I can stop by and join you.
Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.