Friday, March 26

I've never been so tired

You know how people talk about being tired and say things like "I've never been so tired!"? Well, I've never been so tired. 

Yes, I'm physically tired. Sleep has been elusive for months. Part of that is age and part of that is the time in which we're living. And that's what is really making me so tired.

I've never been so tired of people making excuses for bad behavior and somehow justifying incivility, rudeness, and hate-mongering. 

I've never been so tired of people who make crass and ridiculous assumptions based on rumor and third-hand gossip from someone who really doesn't know but heard it from a friend who heard it from someone else.

I've never been so tired of people who are willing to believe the worst in others and who are seemingly willing to yield to their worst instincts in behavior and attitude.

I've never been so tired of people who are willing to think someone else is intolerable because they identify in a particular way, and whatever that way is whether it is a political party, a sexual identify, a racial identity, and preference for a type of music. I don't think that last thing has happened yet, but given all that is going on today, it could.

I've never been so tired of people being hateful about someone else because of the color of their skin or the shape of their eyes or what they wear on their heads or because of their accent.

I've never been so tired of people who are unwilling to admit their own mistakes and simply apologize, and apologize like they mean it rather than for a smippet. That's a social media snippet; you're welcome.

I've never been so tired of people who make self-righteous and selective proclamations, such as no voting on Sunday because it is the Lord's day. Well, my friend, every day is the Lord's day and that is true regardless of one's religion. Sunday may be a day of Christian worship, but the Bible calls Christians to pray without ceasing and to worship in spirit and truth which should happen, methinks, every day and not just on Sunday or whatever day your church chooses to gather.

I've never been so tired of Christians who behave in ways that are so incredibly unlike Christ, even though there's not a one of us who could hope to do that well.

For one of my classes students are reading Sartre's No Exit. His most famous line "Hell is other people" comes from that play. For some, it is the most accessible to try to understand what Sartre then believed to be true about existentialism which I have oversimplified, like the cretin I am, to this: You are your choices.

But re-reading the play got me to thinking about the time in which we live and how it is can be to think that yes, hell is being around other people. And that got me to thinking about how The Good Place toyed with the idea of hell being a place in which one is tortured by other people because of who they are and how they behave. But in The Good Place, people overcame who they were and became better people precisely because of the others and their realization that they needed each other.

And that got me thinking about C.S. Lewis's classic The Screwtape Letters and how very, very pleased Screwtape and Wormwood and their ilk must be with how very badly we are behaving and how very easily we are being led, how very willing we are not to be discerning or take any time to think things through or search for ourselves.

However, I've also been thinking a lot about how the pandemic has shaped and continues to shape so much of our thinking and behavior. Would there be this much animosity and vitriol without the pandemic? 

And then I pause to wonder if the pandemic has not been some great test of our humanity.

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