Taking A Step Back

So… I intimated a week or two ago that I was writing some thoughts on Ferguson and Eric Garner and the general state of race relations in this country. And I did – I wrote them. But I don’t think I’m going to share them. There’s a handful of reasons.

When I shared them with my husband, he poked a few holes in my arguments and pointed out some new perspectives.   I realized that I didn’t really want to work on revising them, nor did I have the energy to defend them if, by some weird quirk of fate, my blog were to generate more attention than usual, because…

I’m tired.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m tired. I’m worn out. I’m stressed. On top of all the usual chaos that has kept my life full to the brim, I’ve added some medical issues. I cracked a tooth back in August and I’ve now been to the dentist and endodontic specialist five times… and I still don’t have the permanent crown. And I just broke the temporary crown on a piece of pecan pie that I forgot to chew on the other side of my mouth. I also went to the optometrist and now I’m waiting for my glasses to arrive.

In the course of applying for life insurance, I discovered that my blood pressure was a little high and my heart rate was extremely low. That started a chain of events that had my thyroid tested (it’s fine) and has me waiting on a stress test. The scheduling of the stress test was stressful enough, with the first cardiologist’s office continually rescheduling me due to their mistakes and me finally deciding to approach a different one. And now I have a cold, which has run me into the ground and may force yet another rescheduling of the stress test.

These may sound like petty excuses, but I’ve never had so many physical complications, doctor’s visits, and distractions.  I haven’t exercised in nearly a week now and I’m starting to feel the effects.  I simply don’t have the energy to push a position. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that…

It’s not personal for me. That may sound shallow and self-centered, but it’s true. I care very much about the issue and hope for change, but it doesn’t affect me directly and right now, I simply have too much else to be going on with.

It’s like John Pavolovitz said in this insightful essay, we have a proximity problem. We care more about what’s close to us. He presented it as a problem and it is definitely something that we should always be mindful of, but it’s also natural and healthy sometimes. None of us can solve all the world’s problems. If we tried, we’d spread ourselves out so thin, we’d simply vanish. Sometimes we can reach out and effect change; sometimes we have to withdraw and regroup.

One of the lessons of evangelism that I take to heart is that you can’t expect to win someone over to your perspective when their most fundamental needs (food, water, shelter, clothing) are not being met. The same goes for each of us, whether with receiving or with giving. We can’t take on external issues when we are struggling at home.

Well, I’m struggling. I know that my struggles are minor by comparison to what other people have to go through, but they are still my struggles. And right now they are very nearly more than I can bear. Any sane person would know that when they are in this situation, they should cut some stuff out. For me, it’s all I can do to get back to the keyboard and write about my family. Writing about the big stuff… the energy just isn’t there.

So I’ve decided to let that line of thinking go for now. I’m not convinced that the people who need to hear it would hear it, and there’s not much point in preaching to the choir. If you were anxiously awaiting my perspective, I’m sorry to disappoint. If you were wishing I’d quit going political and get back to the feel-good kiddy stories and parenting lessons-learned, you’re in luck.

One thing about going through a period of stress, it really helps you figure out what’s most important to you. Whether it’s what should be most important to you is another question. One best left for a less stressful time.