Somewhere I read that as many as 10 percent of Americans, some 30 million people, suffer from some form of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Its many causes include chronic diseases, sleep deprivation, and alcohol use; there are also many who believe that stress is an underlying factor. And while there are no numbers available, I am willing to bet that there are at least that number (but probably more) that suffer from RSS…Restless Soul Syndrome.
What is Restless Soul Syndrome? People with RSS are always searching but never finding. They are interested in everything but satisfied with nothing. Inwardly people with RSS are always going 100 mph, our RPM’s keep going and we may try to find rest for our bodies, but we never really find rest for our souls. We are anxious, we are tense, we’re worried, and we’re concerned; our minds don’t know how to shut down. And even when we try to rest at night, internally, our soul does not rest; it’s a restless soul.
And while I am not a Merle Haggard fan, we both understand what it means to suffer with RSS. I have been told that Mr. Haggard was a country music icon. He was called a legend in his own time. He was a pioneer, an entertainer and known as “the outlaw of country music.” Perhaps the best way to sum up Mr. Haggard’s life is that he did more than sing country music, he lived it.
His troubled youth, brushes with the law and imprisonment in San Quentin are well documented. Johnny Cash advised Haggard to write and sing about the darker side of his life. Mamma Tried, one of his 40 #1 hits, was an apology of sorts to his hard-working, Christian mother for his rebellious life.
In a Rolling Stone interview, Mr. Haggard shared an intimate detail about his soul: “There’s a restlessness in my soul that I’ve never conquered, not with motion, marriages, or meaning. I’ve mellowed a lot, but it’s still there to a degree. And it will be there until the day I die.”
I hope that before he died, Mr. Haggard found the rest that Jesus promises: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…and you will find rest for your souls.