My world has been lacking in one area especially as of late. My patience has been wearing thin.
Maybe it’s just because in my role as a healthcare provider, I spend so much of my day exhibiting extraordinary patience. So when it’s time to enter the “real world,” it seems I have none left for the folks I encounter, especially when they are inconsiderate. I find that I can’t drive anywhere or even go to the grocery store without someone making me mad.
Maybe it’s because my world was briefly turned upside down with my own family’s health crisis while we were worried about my husband.
Maybe it’s because the collective stress from this pandemic is just exhausting, especially with the most recent surge in Covid cases, even though it is finally abating. But even so, I’m holding my breath for the next new variant. I can’t seem to let my guard down.
Maybe it’s because some of my loved ones have been duped by misinformation and still won’t get vaccinated. I continue to worry that the next variant will be the one to infect them and take them from me.
Maybe it’s because we are in the midst of ongoing political unrest, with the rise of nationalism even trickling down to the local school board. In parts of the country, like my county, we see very visible support of these nationistic efforts in the form of political signs that litter our roadways and even the flying of black American flags. The possible death of our democracy is an ever present threat in the background, and we feel powerless to effect repair.
Maybe it’s because in my own efforts to mitigate the ridiculous nature of my ultra conservative neighbors, my attempts to reach out to the leaders in my county with regard to mask wearing in schools, in support of learning real history, in support of LBGTQ students, and with my lack of support for book banning seem wasted. Not one of my carefully worded emails received a response from the school board or board of supervisors. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.
Maybe it’s because a war has begun on the other side of the world, as Russia invades Ukraine. Waking up to the full extent of what is happening there is unfathomable. My kids have resigned themselves to the possibility that WWIII has begun. And why are evangelicals and ultra conservatives in support of Russia? What’s the connection? Of course, the US will get involved. Ukraine is a nation full of resources.
Maybe it’s because I get about 80 calls a day that are silenced and get punted to voicemail, most of which don’t leave a message, all of which get blocked, but yet keep finding ways to call me. So frustrating.
Maybe it’s the never ending stream of videos documenting the temper tantrums of the Karens of our country when they don’t get what they think they are entitled.
Maybe it’s because we all feel stress and trauma right now, and when we are out among each other in public, no one can tolerate the slightest bullshit.
As my stress unravels, the thought occurs to me that maybe I’m not actually a good person after all. Does reacting to someone else’s bad behavior make me the bad person? Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Are we both wrong? Or does it even matter?
There are days where I just feel like a colossal pain in the ass; a huge annoyance to society. Days where I should probably just stay at home, sparing everyone from my bad attitude. I hate reacting to stupidity. I hate feeling this way. My tolerance for “peopling” is very limited right now. Overreacting seems to be the norm, and I’m as guilty as everyone else. These collective, repetitive, minor crimes against humanity are exhausting. It makes me reluctant to go out in public at all. I’m sure many of you can relate. We all seem to be on edge. But wow, do I need some patience.
One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite songs is:
It’s so easy to laugh,
It’s so easy to hate.
It takes strength to be gentle and kind.-The Smiths
I really need to take these words to heart. This is so easy to do for my patients. They are vulnerable. Perhaps the people I encounter in the “real world” are, too. But I become immediately abrasive when someone bristles toward me. It didn’t used to be this way.
It seems my strength to be gentle and kind is lacking in a world where everyone else seems to have given up on the concepts of compassion and respect for their fellow humans. A world that capitalism has created to make people believe that if you fail, it’s because you didn’t work hard enough, not because the system is rigged. A world where people are fooled into believing that some people are better than others. A world where crimes against humanity are so common, that we just let the minor ones slide, each chipping away at the norms of decency. A world where dictators feel emboldened to take what they think is theirs, whether that’s human rights or an entire country.
There’s only so many layers of stress a person can sustain. You can be the kindest, sweetest soul, but eventually the collective weight of these burdensome layers under which we are buried will leave little light left to illuminate this dark world in which we have to survive. We either get angry or give up. We either choose to react, negatively or positively, to the stress, or we become so paralyzed by our overwhelming sense of powerlessness to effect change that apathy wins.
I know. Here I go again with these dark posts. Today, we are all waking up to the news that Russia has invaded Ukraine. My soul feels heavy. I’m not much on prayer these days, but I sincerely hope that the situation there improves soon. My heart goes out to the people of Ukraine.
I think many of us find ourselves in a place of darkness and frustration lately, and sometimes it helps to know that you are not alone in these feelings. If you are here, too, I’m sending you a giant virtual hug.
As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.