I read this excellent post on Jen Hatmaker’s Facbook page yesterday. She talked about looking for the grown-up in the room, i.e. the person not arguing, not using childish banter to go on the attack, the person others look to because they’re talking sense.
Sometimes you have to be that person. Sometimes you have to be the grown-up.
And that, my friends, is no easy task. Let’s think about it. How many times over the last few months have you felt shut down because what you wanted to say fell on deaf ears? How many times have you tried to use your voice for good and had it turned and twisted until your original thoughts looked nothing like the words being thrown back at you? How many times have you lost it, and not been the grown-up?
Yeah. Me too.
The things we are experiencing as a culture, in the United States and around the world, are unprecedented. I’ve never witnessed so much hostility, sometimes downright hatefulness, and vitriol on social media, ever, and I’ve been on it since forever. It is shocking and sad that our interactions have ceased to be pleasant. I know friends that have quit altogether. And honest? I miss their voices. Because they had something important to say, but nobody wanted to hear it. And so, rather than continuing to shout into the wind, they retreated.
I’ve kind of done the same. I go back and forth on the Facebook thing. But honestly, I love it for what it used to be. I love it for the interactions with good friends and family, and the writing groups I belong to. So now when I interact, I’m looking for the grown-ups. Looking for folks who are having open-minded discussions about current events without the entire thing turning nuclear. Because I think it’s important that we keep talking about these things, even if it’s hard. Even if it hurts. But we need to get to place of understanding. And I’m trying to be the grown-up too, and not post every thing that’s on my mind. Which again, is not easy, because sometimes . . . oh I’m tempted to let my inner-child come out to play.
Sometimes being the grown-up means taking a stand.
I believe it does. I believe we need to keep speaking out against those things that are wrong. I believe if we are truly convicted about something, we must speak out. To say nothing would be to silence our own voice. Which is what those who disagree so vehemently want. They don’t want to hear the truth. When two sides are in heated argument, neither side believes the other might have a point, and nobody wins. And yet, I think to stick one’s head in the sand and wait for the madness to pass is probably just as bad. Because it won’t. If anything, it’s going to get worse. I’d love to see more honest and open discussions about the things that are happening instead of the flame-throwing.
Being the grown-up means being in control.
I remember those days when my kids would go off into full-blown temper tantrums. And wasn’t it tempting to grab their little shoulders and get right up in their face and shout right back? Oh, yeah. But what would that have accomplished? Nothing but an even longer, louder and most certainly angrier tantrum. And I’d probably go to bed early with a whopping headache. No. Sometimes you just have to wait it out. If you can’t be heard, walk away. Be the grown-up. And if you’re not being heard yet you still feel the need to speak, think very carefully about the words you post. This is especially difficult in the heat of the moment. So maybe come back to that topic later. When you don’t want to toss a chair through a window.
Don’t give up.
As with any great paradigm shift where it suddenly feels as though the entire world is off-kilter and there’s a vast majority that simply don’t see it, it’s tempting to give up. Tempting to go off and find a little hobbit hole someplace and just stay there. At least for the next four years. But don’t give up. Because for all the crazy, there’s still good happening. You just have to look a little harder. And sometimes you can be that good thing that happened to somebody today. You can encourage, smile, love, share your humor and your fancy self and just be that good thing this old world so desperately needs.
We’re all tired.
Enough said. So let’s find something fun to do. I’m embarking on a month of personal challenge. I’m shutting out the noise, taking back control of what I eat and drink, exercising more, and I’m hoping to find some more inner peace in the process. I’ve also given myself that 30 days in which to complete this manuscript I’m working on. I’m being the grown-up. I’m making the rules. And I think I’ll be a whole lot happier at the end of it, whether I’ve achieved those goals or not. Because I tried. And really, that’s all any of us can do.
Are you working for change in your life and your community? Are you trying to be the grown-up? I’d love to hear your thoughts.