Friday, November 11, 2016

Exhausted

I’m so tired,
I haven’t slept a wink.
I’m So Tired – John Lennon

“I'm so tired I never want to wake up again. But I've figured out now that it was never them that made me feel that way. It was just me, all along.” 

Forever – Maggie Stiefvater




I think I was, without realizing it, exhausted. I think we all are. Especially this week. It’s been a hard week. Donald Trump won the Presidency and whether that is good news or bad news for you, it’s been an exhausting experience. Some people are just now recovering from the shock. All over my Facebook page people are talking about this. Some, normally apolitical, are expressing fear. Most are expressing anger, no, rage. There is rioting all over America. People at all degrees of the political spectrum have been spewing towards and receiving hate from friends, family members, co-workers, and strangers. A precious few, on both sides are calling for peace and to stop talking about politics for a while. Unfortunately, almost no one is stopping. 
Hatred and rage are exhausting no matter if one is giving or receiving it. They produce rushes of adrenaline and although no one likes to admit this, that rush feels good. It gives us energy. It’s a very focused moment and when we’re focused we don’t think whether we are right or wrong. We don’t think about the effect our words and actions have on each other. We don’t realize we’re committing violence with a keyboard as surely as if we were stabbing someone in the chest. We’re like a jilted lover who just caught our beloved in bed with someone else and so without thinking, without control or breaks, we kill the one we love. Almost all of us have been guilty of crimes of passion these last few weeks.
All this adrenaline exacts a price. In her book 8 Keys to Stress Management,[1] Elizabeth Anne Scott reminds us that when our mind brings us to a place of perceived, not real, threat, our body doesn’t know the difference. The blood races. The heart pounds. We breathe harder and perhaps sweat. We’re taxing our hearts, physically and emotionally. We are damaging ourselves. And we are usually damaging others. On my own Facebook page a friend, a Christian pastor, told me she is glad I’m going to Hell because of how I voted. A stranger, a theology student, told me to go kill myself. All this hatred feels good, but then we feel washed up and exhausted. I have felt exhausted.
So today I took a nap. Usually when I take a nap I sleep from ten minutes to an hour. Today I slept for three hours, hard and sound. I turned off the phone and the social media and the world and I slept. Now I feel better. People are still rioting but Donald Trump is reaching out to Bernie Sanders. Maybe it won’t be as bad as we fear. Or maybe it will be. But today is Veterans’ Day and I remember that we have survived the wars and divisions of the past. I think Americans need to put down their protest signs, get off social media, and take a nap. I think America needs an afternoon nap. Then it can make a nice snack and read a book or spend time with the kids or watch a movie or go for a walk or just sit in silence for a while. Maybe we need to start praying for those we have persecuted, those who have persecuted us and even those we might think are going to persecute us. Tomorrow we can make a plan to make things better, more just, more equitable, more civilized, a plan rather than spontaneous violence or hatred or wishes for death or eternal damnation. We can listen to our Muse, always a peaceful voice and be creative rather than destructive. Tonight, America can go to bed early and then tomorrow we can Get Started and Keep Going.  That’s hard to do if we’re exhausted.




[1] Scott, Elizabeth Anne. 8 Keys to Stress Management, (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc.), 2013.