View from the Hill

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN PAUL PENNER
I believe it is a safe bet that somewhere in the world, at any given time of the day, somebody is saying, “I’m tired.” After all, we humans are not machines, and we need regular downtime to replenish our energy and repair our bodies.

I, too, am often physically tired, and I must take time out to get some rest.

Whenever someone greets me on the streets and asks, “How are you doing?” I often respond “OK, so far.” It usually gets an equally interesting response.

What does one say when a person is mentally or emotionally tired? Or what does one say when they are spiritually tired?

I suspect most people will privately admit life isn’t always so great, that they occasionally are tired from the constant struggle-even while they are publicly saying that “all is well, and life couldn’t be better.”

Don’t get me wrong, I am not an eternal pessimist or a totally negative person. But there are days when I react to all the negative events going on in the world.

Here are some things that occasionally brings me to the point of exhaustion.

I am tired of watching television while news reporters recount the latest killings and bombings of innocent civilians. It saddens me when I hear the latest body counts of some dictator’s oppressive rule. Each person, though nameless to me, had a real name, a family, a life.

I am tired of hearing the drumbeats of war, no matter how noble the cause. People die, and innocent civilians always lose their lives. When my mother was born, the war to end all wars had just begun. Here we are, 80-plus years later, and we have seen the acts of war increase, not decrease.

I also am tired of those who seek to destroy our world and the lives of innocents through terroristic acts.

I am tired of the politics that seems to permeate every aspect of life. Right now, I am especially tired of the political games that gubernatorial candidates play.

I also hate politics in church. I get tired very quickly when people in church use religious word-speak to justify their own behavior, as if by invoking the name of God it sanctifies the process and everyone else who opposes them is deemed to be outside of the will of God.

Playing political games in church reminds me of lukewarm water. It may taste like water and it may even do some good, but it makes me want to throw up. I’d rather have a hot cup of chocolate milk, a cold glass of ice tea or-God forbid-an ice-cold beer.

I am tired of hearing about the violence and abuse that goes on in our cities and local communities. I never will get used to hearing stories of rape, of sexual, physical, mental abuse and murder. The stories of young children being abused in such ways are the most disturbing. I want to scream “Enough already!”

I am tired of watching families fall apart due to unresolved conflicts that have festered for many years. I am weary of the endless battle, in which there seems to be no rational means for reconciliation. I am afraid the only way they will end is when the participants die. And then it will be too late.

Being tired of these things does not absolve me of my own responsibility to do what is right and make the world a better place. But as I observe the world around me, I struggle with an occasional sense of hopelessness. It seems that no matter what good I can do, the impact of the negative nearly nullifies it all.

But there are days when I am encouraged to go on and strive to make my world a better place to live. My sources of encouragement are many.

I am encouraged when I balance the negative news stories with television programs that are uplifting and wholesome. Though the air waves may seem to be a vast and hideous wasteland, there are television programs which offer the viewer an encouraging message. The series “Touched by an Angel” is one such program.

I find encouragement from friends who are making a difference in their own world. One friend is the chairperson of a Christian Ministries Convention in Denver, Colo., where people from the Midwestern states can come and be challenged to live out their faith in an increasingly hostile world. Seminars offer insight into the challenges of single parents, plus a variety of topics on marriage and intimacy in marriage. Just knowing the energy my friend is committing to this endeavor, it silences the other negative voices I hear.

I can then truthfully say, “I’m OK, so far.” How about you?

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