Reminder before you read this: I like people.
Sometimes words leave my mouth so fast there’s no way to stop them. They are like a tsunami; the deeper the water, the faster they go.
I’ve gotten to the point in my life that I realize a) admission is the first step, and b) it’s not worth it to say everything.
I know, what a revelation, right? For a number of years now, I’ve had Proverbs 10:19 handwritten on a torn scrap piece of paper and taped to my office phone: When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent (ESV). Essentially this is saying, the more you talk and talk and talk and refuse to SHUT UP, the more likely you are to say something moronic that you will later regret.
I affectionally refer to it as someone who “circles the drain,” never getting to the point because shockingly, they usually don’t have one other than to hear themselves speak. These people are either busy with their incessant rambling in an effort to singlehandedly assuage their lack of confidence in what they are saying, or running over what everyone else has to say in an effort to singlehandedly assuage their lack of confidence in who they are (usually comparatively).
Either way, it’s annoying. But what I’ve also come to realize is empathy. Life is a journey and people are not all on the same highway.
Or, as in the case of our POTUS – the same planet. We’ve read and heard everything from he’s not on the same page to he’s not from the same universe. At this point, I don’t care where he’s from, I just want him to SHUT UP.
Side note: I have a “political” bent, sure. Of course I do. And a “religious” one. And a “whatever” one. They are all labels. Labels are perhaps the only thing dumber than Trump’s delivery of multitudinous numbers of words. Could you imagine if Twitter didn’t have a character # limitation? Actually, better question: could you imagine if our President had a character flaw limitation?
Ixnay on the Presidency-a.
This post is not mean to be “political” (puke), nor a lament. It’s simply that I can’t decide if perhaps this is the very reason why I am at a complete and utter loss of words for the state of pretty much everything around us right now: no one and nothing SHUTS UP.
We are inundated every.single.day with images and noises and words that inexplicably determine our bents-de-jour. The new thing. The new cause. The new issue that’s somehow worth arguing / hurting / leaving / murdering / unforgiving others over.
And yet, inanely, we can unite during a small window of time when our sky goes black.
Enough darkness, people.
We gotta get over and give a little space for our brethren travelers who (NEWS FLASH!) are living on the same planet; otherwise, everyone will keep ending up in one giant cluster-jam on the road to Nowhere Growthsville. We’ll just end up continuing to circle the drain in the same vitriolic swamp from which we started.
We are living, breathing, RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW (that was for you, all my fellow Van Halen fans) in the middle of history repeating itself. And yet, most of us do nothing. There was a Nazi flag flying on American soil acting as a rally cry for white supremacy. We used to innocently attend something not-at-all-similar back in the day before Friday night football games as we rallied to win against an opposing team.
BUT THERE IS NO OPPOSING TEAM HERE.
Let me say it again. Have you, have we – seriously, honestly, deeply THOUGHT ABOUT THIS? Or do we just have a collective, numbed toleration for the ongoing abhorrent injustice of people? Of actual human beings? How can that even be possible?
Why, for a few minutes, hours, or months do we purport that we are all under the same collective label of “Americans” or “neighbors” or “Buckeyes” after some common occurrence: 9/11, a Solar Eclipse, OSU! winning the National Championship, but then, shortly thereafter, it becomes “they” or “them” or “those <insert verbal injustice> people”?
It makes no sense and yet seems so easy.
There was a Nazi flag flying around in our country recently. Honestly that sentence could end after ‘around’ since Nazi anything should never again be anywhere. And in our country as this was occurring, our fellow Americans (human beings) were chanting the slogans of Nazi Germany, calling for the annihilation of non-white “vermin” (human beings).
This makes no sense and yet seems so easy.
When I went to Israel in 2008, I visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. It is chilling. Chilling.
Yad Vashem is dedicated to preserving the memory of the dead and honoring Jews who fought against their Nazi oppressors, along with the Gentiles who selflessly aided Jews in need. People. Human beings. On the same team of life. Yad Vashem also provides research into the nonpareil of the Holocaust in particular and genocide in general, with the aim of avoiding such events in the future.
Because “those people” care about “other people.”
Let me state the obvious one more time: there is no “us” or “them” or “those” anything. There is and HAS ONLY EVER BEEN…people. One race of humanity.
There is only one human race and one collective fight – against anyone else who doesn’t get that.
Reminder as you finish reading this: while not everything is worth saying, everyONE is worth defending. In the words of Martin Niemöller:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
No one cares until they come for them. Until it affects them directly they stand idle, but never corrected.
Divisiveness stems from fear. Labels stem from fear. Hate groups epitomize fear. Fear that they’ll come for them – for their people, but mostly for them alone.
That is what people are afraid of. And until it is realized that the “they” who is coming for them is nothing more than an ignorant, fearful perspective – that “they” are effectually turning themselves into a “they” when they rise up against the perceived “other” they’s and thereby (in super ironic fashion) are uniting themselves – nothing will get better.
This seems so easy.
Don’t be a selfish. Just…don’t. Loving and caring about yourself above others is and will forever be the largest, most immediate, and most consequential demise of all human relationships.
So, for all you groups who are turning a blind eye to our RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW history-repeating-itself-world, your inaction equals hate.
Dear children, don’t just talk about love. Put your love into action. Then it will truly be love.
-1 John 3:18.