The Notorious Workaholic

When I received the news of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death last Friday night, it took my breath away. Not only because I respect, admire and appreciate the work she has done to fight for women, I knew that with her passing things would just get more intense. 

Intense feels like the best way to describe 2020 at this point. 

Intense grief over losing many of the figures in our world that brought us hope. Remember Kobe Bryant's death seemed to be the first of these many tragedies to rock us this year.

Intense sadness as we mourn so much of what was and what might have been. 

Intense debate over politics and elections. 

This most recent death would only add to all of that intensity no matter what side of the political aisle we fell on. 

We were eating dinner. I looked at Shannon and said, "It's about to get real."

Of course my kids wanted to know what in the world that meant. So, we set on course to educate them on the Notorious RBG, what she meant to so many, and how her death would impact the world right now. 

One of the things we decided to do as a family was watch the RBG documentary from a couple of years ago. 

As I watched it, there were many times I exclaimed, "Amen. You tell 'em, Ruth!" 

But...there were times that I felt myself cringing. Mostly as her family talked about their memories of her and how hard she worked. Especially her children. 

The pain in her daughter's voice as she spoke of her mother working incessantly was palpable. There was no doubt that she respected her mother and was very proud of her. That said, there was this resignation in her that it was just the way her mom was and had always been. It made me cry.

I couldn't help but wonder if she had hoped for a little less RBG and a little more Mom. 

Please hear me out. I understand all the nuances and the sacrifices that come with building a career, especially as a woman, in the era and environment Ruth Bader Ginsburg worked. I certainly would never question an ambitious, hard-working woman. I respect, applaud and give thanks for her example.

I am, however, troubled by how these late nights, long hours and working pretty much up to the point of her death are celebrated. 

It just feels for lack of a better word - icky. 

And unhealthy.

And unsustainable. 

RBG, you are sure 'nuff amazing, but you also had some terrible boundaries. 

Sure, there are seasons in life that will require more work or longer hours but at some point, that has to give. You cannot burn the candle at both ends for too long or someone is going to get hurt. It's usually ourselves or those closest to us that we love the most.

I'm just wondering why it has to be this way. 

Why do we have to work ourselves to the point of eating only one meal a day and getting on average 2-4 hours of sleep to become notorious?

Is there something about who we are as a society that encourages us to place work above family or ourselves? I'm sure all of us would say no way, but I've known too many people (myself included) whose actions prove otherwise. 

I think a lot of it comes down to what our identity is shaped and built by. 

I'd venture to say for most of us, it is based on what we do, not who we are. 

Our worth is bound up in how we perform and what we accomplish.

Wouldn't it be so much better if that wasn't the case? 

What a different world it would be if we all could lean into the truth of who we are!

We are fearfully and wonderfully made children of God who are told to rest and be still. 

There’s a beauty in stepping away from our work for the sake of our own souls and the ones we love. 

It is possible to be a warrior for justice and also honor Sabbath in our lives.

RBG will always be a hero of mine. 

She's the bees knees. 

She walked so I could run.

I can't help but wonder just how much more notorious she'd be if she had taken more time to be still and rest.