A young man named Eutychus was sitting in the window, and as Paul kept on talking, Eutychus got sleepier and sleepier, until he finally went sound asleep and fell from the third story to the ground. When they picked him up, he was dead. But Paul went down and threw himself on him, and hugged him. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he is still alive!”…They took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted. Acts 20:9-10, 12
We can’t blame Eutychus because we don’t know why he fell asleep. It was an all-nighter—Paul spoke until the wee hours of the morning. Perhaps it had been a long day and Eutychus was exhausted. On the other hand, maybe he was just bored. We’ll never know. Either way, Paul did what he could to heal him.
I love that this story is included in the bible. Who hasn’t dozed off when they didn’t mean to? We all need rest, but what can we do to make sure we stay healthily alert? The dangers of falling asleep literally at the wheel are obvious and hopefully we avoid driving when we’re overtired. But what about other ways fatigue can interfere with our focus?
It’s easy to check out mentally when we’re exhausted. When we’ve reached our limit, we just shut down…perhaps at the most inopportune time. If we find ourselves pushing—or allowing ourselves to be pushed—too hard, too long, and too frequently, maybe we need to consciously schedule some down time into our days. Jesus taught and healed the crowds, but also withdrew from them for quiet time alone.
On the flip side, some of us nap out of boredom. We miss out on a lot of life when the activity in our days dwindles down to an uneventful rut. One small but concrete step in a new direction can be rewarding and stimulating. Taking walk around the block, reading something thought provoking, or picking up the phone to “reach out and touch someone” can be the start of enriching our day instead of sleeping it away.
Whether we tend to do too much or too little, we can all take Eutychus’s example as a “window of opportunity” for us to wake up and seek life-enhancing balance.
Prayer: Lord, awaken me.
Reflection: What within me resists being awakened?