Heavy Burdens

There are times when I feel trapped, as though everything in life is trying to slowly suffocate me and eat away at my spirit. Much of it is due to decisions I have made, some have been mistakes, but others I have felt were right and needed to be done regardless of the consequences. I’m not sorry for making most of those decisions; I’d feel much worse if I gave up my convictions whenever things got rough. Occasionally though, all the responsibilities and consequences weigh me down until I feel immobilized. I’m the kind of person who will always seek win-win situations, and I typically find them but not without a fair amount of hair-pulling, teeth-gnashing, and brainstorming. It requires me to think outside the box, but I’ll be the first person to tell you that it isn’t always easy. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that it isn’t ever easy.

I always know when I’ve reached a critical point because I recognize that I don’t want to do anything. As soon as I feel like giving up or crawling into a deep dark hole never to emerge again, I know that I have to redouble my efforts or try looking from a different perspective. I think that is one of the most difficult parts of the process. When you feel like there is no hope, no workable option, no way out…it takes so much more willpower to simply get up and face a day, let alone try to have a decent attitude. I think we often don’t give ourselves enough credit for the amazing things we do accomplish, because we feel like we should be doing more. We live in a culture that is impersonal and it doesn’t matter what issues you have or how they are affecting your life. You’re simply supposed to pretend that there’s nothing wrong when you walk into your job. Life demands that you do certain things anyway, even in the face of tragedy. Families still need to be taken care of, you still need to eat, sleep, work, shop for groceries, pay the bills, and manage a schedule. Really we’re just training ourselves to shut down emotionally, to remain distant and even apathetic just to survive. There are so many people on Prozac that it isn’t funny. It should be a wake-up call that things are not working for this society. A society that is comprised of people cannot flourish if it fails to engage and nourish the element of humanity that sets us apart from animals.

Even in the midst of my own trials, I’m thankful that I have an appreciation of people in general and how resilient we truly are. We are amazing, and we have the ability to transform this society into a place that will foster relationships and nourish the spirit. We don’t really need to separate ourselves from our emotions, but we might need a friendly ear or helpful suggestion from someone who demonstrates concern. That behavior should be the cornerstone of our society and one that is embraced, not condemned. How very odd that in workplaces touting the merits of social skills, “soft” skills, and customer relations that employees are prevented from reaping the benefits of those skills. It’s a rather cruel irony. The bottom line is that we can help each other by simple acts, it really doesn’t take much but we shortchange ourselves by attempting to deny the existence of the emotions that give us our humanity. When we separate from our lives emotionally, we risk a society that is only capable of apathy and disinterest at best. At worst, we have a society with an increasing number of people who just don’t care anymore and crime rates that continue to climb. Everything is relational, and embracing our humanity can make truly awesome changes in our society.

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