In chess, the end game often means that play has been reduced to very few pieces. In my life, the end game is when the pieces multiply, often out of control. The end of term is coming, the end of the calendar year is coming, the end of the liturgical year is upon us, and I have loose ends everywhere.
This is also an extravagant time of year. My students are investing extravagantly in study time, as am I in grading, giving feedback and having office hours. Extravagance creeps into family life, too. There are marvelous holiday meals to be prepared, gifts to be found, and decorations to be put up. The richness of the liturgical season cries out for extravagant attention - to music, to texts, to the preaching. As a result, we are extravagantly tired.
Today I had an appointment with my spiritual director. I worked the last two weekends, will work the next two. I have a grant due next week, and a mountain of grading to do - but in the end decided to take the few hours and go (an extravagance, I know!). I discovered that though the truly intense weeks have not arrived yet, I've already reached the utterly tired stage. After an hours' conversation with my director, we ended as usual with a prayer and some chocolate. As always, he sends me out with the assurance that I need not rush out the door, but am welcome to stay at the old novitiate as long as I wish. Today he looked at me twice and said, "That chair reclines. I'm going to a staff meeting. Take a nap." And I did.
Perhaps it's time to consider being the extravangance of being unbusy?