The pace is hurried this time of year. There is the race to buy gifts to show others we love them. The packing in of parties and activities and last get-togethers with graduating friends. The rush to get finals graded. The push to collect that last bit of data knowing lab money is dried up next year.
Medicine has a name for this: it’s called tachycardia, a racing heartbeat. It’s just fine for a heart to beat fast for short bouts such as during exercise. But prolonged tachycardia leads to fatigue, anxiety, dizziness, and even passing right out.
My heart has been racing lately.
And my type of tachycardia can be relieved by lying down. By giving up the fight against gravity and being still.
So when my heart bounds away to my big deadline in January, or the new class I’ll be teaching next semester, or Christmas with family, or this weekend’s data collection and serving and celebrating, or the work left tonight – life pulsing loud and ominous in my chest – then I will try to be still. To lie down for a time and rest, waiting for the wild thumping to slow to a steady, rhythmic, beat.