I am, literally, tired of everything. Anyone else? I mean, can I get an amen? And not just in the “I’m gonna go home and take a serious nap after church today” way. Today I am keenly aware of the huge volume of things in our world to be weary of.
If you haven’t been paying attention, people are upset. And in the same breath, they are doing perfectly fine. We are in a season of paradox. A time when our lives lived out on social media are full of “totes adorable” and “to die for” and our children are well dressed and even better behaved. At the same time we vilify those who don’t belong to our political party or whose religious beliefs, skin color or patterns of behavior don’t match up to our own. We don’t apologize to anyone or for anything because we are certainly right or at least more right than everyone else. So we sip our lattes and use our best instagram filters and bask in the glow of the number of likes our candidate or our favorite team or our favorite belief systems receives. And it all comes at once. And I refuse to believe that I am the only one who is really just over it.
On top of all of this I think our digital age has made us keenly aware of all the wrongdoing that surrounds us. October is domestic violence awareness month. An entire month to educate our community on a societal problem that we can’t seem to shake. This month also contains a day to remember our lost children and the families who mourn them daily. We are constantly faced with a newsfeed filled will murders of our young men and women, the exclusion of our most vulnerable, the exploitation of women and children in our culture and the corruption of the most powerful.
So what then, are we to do?
My friends, do your best to choose kindness. It isn’t easy. Believe me, I am often the first to choose anger and judgement. But when my children are fighting in the back seat I remind them to always choose kindness. I can think of dozens of time when I regret choosing something other than kindness. I can’t think of anytime I regretted the opposite choice. Also, practice empathy. Take on another person’s perspective. Make the choice to be open to their thoughts and feelings as valid and important. When we practice empathy we learn to believe that the hurt of others is as important as our own hurt. (I recommend Brené Brown’s YouTube video on empathy).
And, above all, love others. What does this look like? For me, in my faith community, it means being the hands and feet of Jesus like my friends and neighbors were for me this weekend.
While I was at work yesterday my dear friends came to give respite to the Pastor from my two wonderfully rambunctious children so he could rest. And then my neighbors brought those same loud and crazy kids dinner so they could all rest. And today my children will be loved and cared for by my own church community so I can rest from a busy night of welcoming babies into the world. And while these simple yet profound acts of kindness have and will bring much needed physical rest to our families, more than that these are the tangible expression of a body of people that choose kindness over rightness, vulnerability over social media perfection. So, friends, today instead of my usual “I don’t look like I’ve only had 3 hours of sleep lipstick and heels” I chose “messy bun, no eyeliner
and stretchy pants” for my church outfit. And I let my four year old wear her sparkly crown and my 9 year old wear non-matching shoes because, in the end, only these few things matter.
The truth is that our world will continue to saturate us with filtered images of what is good and what is truth, but you and I can choose show grace to those around us by choosing kindness, empathy and love. And friends, when life makes us tired, we can rest in the assurance of a God who knows us and chooses and His people who are the tangible expression of His love.