Once in awhile I see a post the speaks to me. Thus it was today when I saw these words on my Facebook wall, I am strong but I am tired. There was no lovely image to go with the message, only those seven words but that made them even more powerful to me. I suppose that my journey to exhaustion began long long ago when my father died. I knew that my mother had more than her share of challenges so I literally dedicated myself to being responsible and mature even at the age of eight. I studied hard and did my best not to create trouble of any sort. It wasn’t always easy because the little girl in me was always calling out but I got through my childhood and teen years being a model of perfection.
I married young but already felt as though I was thirty years old. I knew that I had chosen the right man with whom to partner and I had developed incredible skills for managing a home and myself. I lived in a delightful bubble of pure joy from my wedding day in October to the following July when my mother had her first psychotic break. I fell apart initially but before long I had taken a deep breath and returned to courageous mode so that I might care for my mom and for my younger brothers. I made a number of mistakes but my intentions were always pristine. I hoped that once she was well I would never again have to deal with such a horridly emotional situation but that was not to be.
For the remainder of my mother’s life, a period of over forty years, I would become her caretaker again and again whenever she reached the brink of insanity. The task never became easy but I got better and better at making wise decisions on her behalf In the meantime I was raising a family of my own and working as a teacher. Sometimes I was so weary that I had to take a mental health day just to revive my strength. Somehow I always found a way to put on my big girl pants and do whatever needed doing.
I taught a number of minority students over time, many of whom lived in unimaginably difficult situations. My own experiences helped me to have empathy when they fell apart. I often teased my pupils by telling them that the entry to my classroom was a magic door and that anyone passing through would be able to miraculously set aside whatever was worrying them and focus on learning. Of course there were days when even I was experiencing so much personal trauma that the door did not work as I had promised. Luckily I knew my subject matter so well that I was able to fake it.
I suppose that each of us have many moments that test our wills and push us to simply give up. Over and over again we have to fight back the inclination just to retire from the world. We find a strength that we never imagined having and carry on.
I know that I am strong but I am tired. The last many months have left me feeling great sadness for my fellowman. While I have always found a way to solve life’s problems, right now I am puzzled and disappointed by so much that I witness in the world that it is exhausting.
- I am tired of the division in our country.
- I am tired of those who are unwilling to hear the pleas and the hurt of Black Americans.
- I am tired of hearing more concern over things than the lives of people.
- I am tired of insinuations that segments of our society hate America simply because they are working to mend its flaws.
- I am tired of the self-righteousness of some religious people who forget the command from Jesus to love thy neighbor as thyself and to judge not lest they be judged.
- I am tired of hearing about people’s freedom to walk among us without masks while many of those same people complain about Black Americans protesting to ensure their freedom.
- I am tired of hearing excuses being made for the gross behavior of our president when it should be roundly condemned. I would not have allowed my children or my students to treat people with the kind of insulting malice that is applauded by his followers.
- I am tired of lies, lies and more lies from so many corners of society.
- I am tired of the inhumanity being inflicted on far too many with impunity.
- I am tired of our unwillingness to stop, quiet our minds and listen to one another without thinking of how we are going to refute what people are thinking.
- I am tired of national obsessions with guns and money and always being the best.
- I am tired of tired of our president attempting to make us afraid of one another and succeeding to the point of inciting militias and vigilantes.
- I am tired of watching people and leaders ignore science, especially when we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and are reeling from the effects of climate change.
- I am tired of smoke and mirrors and buzzwords that distort reality in an effort to trick us into suspending our ability to think.
I know who I am. I know that I love America no matter whom I support in an election. I know that I have a very personal, private and meaningful relationship with God. I know that I have a mind of my own that I have used to overcome daunting challenges. I am strong but I am tired of ugliness and I will do whatever I can to call it out. I may be tired but I am ever strong.