I've written here before about my mixed feeling about social media - about how much I hate the fact that it's a venue for comparisons, for judgement and for hostility. I keep telling myself I should just turn it off but, when you are a fringe-dweller like me, sometimes it takes the various online options to help you to feel that you are not truly alone and that you DO actually belong to a tribe, rare and odd though it may be. I don't want to give it up for that. It's also, though, been the conduit for helping me to understand just how tired I actually am.
Why am I so tired? I'm tired of people being mean. There seems to be so much of that these days. People who think that they should vent their anger on whoever is close, whoever is weak, whoever is least in the position to fight back. I see in on the roads when bullies cut people off. I see it at the soccer field when parents are putting way too much pressure on their kids. I see it in stores when people feel that they have the right to abuse the people who are serving them. I see it most of all in the horrendous speeches and sound bites coming from the U.S. election. Where did the compassion go? Where did the respect for others go? Where did all this bigotry and racism come from? Where did our expectations go for what we can accept from our powerful and our public?
Why else am I tired? I'm tired of certainty. I definitely don't mean my own. I find that so often, I feel so unsure and I see that there are so many elements to a situation. On the other hand, there are so many people out there who are so sure - so sure that racism DOESN'T exist, so sure that all Muslims are dangerous and planning to implement Sharia on all of us, so sure that if we take care of those who are poorer than we are, that the world will fall apart, we will be murdered in our streets and our economies will collapse. These are the people that are so sure that God is blessing them because of their own specialness or brand of faith or practice of faith, the people who are so sure that they are entitled and everyone with less is suffering from their own laziness or weakness of character in some form or other. These are the people who want to shout the rest of us down and who believe that our compassion is just a manifestation of our weakness and our naivety. We need to be "tougher" and to stop listening to the whiners and to buy our guns and build our fences and save our money. How is it that I have doubt when I am trying to follow Jesus and to read His words and to live his commands and yet, they claim piety and righteousness and yet don't seem to be reading the same book that I am? How is it that these people are so sure as to what Jesus wanted in terms of marriage when He himself never actually said anything about homosexuality? How is that they seem to ignore the friction between judging and loving and not stepping forward to cast the first stone? It makes me tired.
What else makes me tired? Rudeness. How is it that so many people post things about the good old days when kids got spanked and we treated our elders with respect and yet, these are the same people who push forward in line, boast and boast about anything and everything and feel that they have the right to slander, name call and abuse? What happened to the days when, if we didn't have something nice to say, we didn't say anything? Why is it that I am rude if I share my truth and yet I should listen to your truth without comment, regardless how offensive it may be?
What else is making me tired? Deciding when to battle and when to be silent. I am exhausted from feeling as if I am always torn - do I just let it go and take the easy path when I see that racist comment, hear that homophobic joke or see memes praising building walls, starving the hungry and depriving shelter and safety to the homeless? I don't want to be the one who is always the person who is seen as opinionated, the person who is always taking us away from the joke to the grim reality or the person who is pointing out that the Emperor is naked. I'm exhausted from fighting the fight and putting myself out there. I'm also aware, though, that my call from God and my love of justice and mercy won't allow me to sit idly by and watch what could be another trip down the road of Germany in the 1930's. I don't want to be the one who didn't speak up and then had nobody left to speak for me.
For my introverted heart, this all makes me want to crawl into my home and create a safe haven and not come out. Quite a few years ago, I went to some counseling and my therapist said to me once, "You know that you can't keep a bubble around your children and keep them always safe from any trouble? All you can do is carry them through the trouble and give them that sense of safety that convinces them that they can do it." She was right, of course, but I think I want to do the same for myself. I want to bubble wrap myself and not engage with anything or anyone that is going to make me more tired.
I can't though, so I have decided that for the next month or so, while I won't entirely withdraw, I am going to make more of an effort to create peace in my world. It may be peace for others but mostly, I want it to be peace in my own house and my own heart. I am going to try to look for positive and see how many different ways and places I can find it and, if I'm not too tired, I'll share it here. It's nice to record the good and with all of the poison on the net, it would be nice to have some beauty, too, even if I am the only one who sees it.