"I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."
Fannie Lou Hamer, addressing the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, NJ
To begin, I am a walking, talking cliche.
I am a white, middle-aged, Southern, Protestant man. I cannot help any of those things. But I CAN help what I am going to do about what I think, how I feel, and especially what I am going to do when others express to me - with actions or with words - how life is treating them unfairly.
I can be a friend to everyone, anyone, who needs a friend.
I can champion the causes that matter to me, and I can (hopefully) remain open to learning about new ones that I am unaware of.
Growing up, all I knew was the neighborhoods and the schools and the churches where I lived. Those were my friends, my mentors, my playmates, my classmates. If I judged any of them, it was done by how they acted toward me or toward others. I don't remember judging anyone by any other standard.
When I got older, I am uncomfortably certain that I began judging more and more based on other things. I am ashamed to admit that, but I am not ashamed to admit that it has caused me to open my heart, my mind, and myself to what others think, feel, and believe. I am also old enough to admit that many of the stories I have heard over the 60 years I have lived have changed me. I don't necessarily believe everything I am told or everything I read, but all of it causes me to stop and think about how I really feel.
So for today, here it is: like Fannie Lou Hamer, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.
- I am SICK AND TIRED of the cowardice that our elected officials show when it comes to guns. I have read the entire Second Amendment, and I often wonder if they have.
- I am SICK AND TIRED of teachers and public education being the punching bag for everything that is wrong with society.
- I am SICK AND TIRED of the double-standard that exists in politics; if the left hates a specific politician for a person reason, the right defends him/her - and vice versa. I think if you are going to condemn one politician for a specific act, you should condemn all politicians for the same specific act. No fair only defending those you like and agree with. Wrong is wrong!
- I am SICK AND TIRED of women not being treated fairly. They do the same work as men? Then they should get the same pay as men. How difficult is that to understand? Also, men rarely get sexually harassed, but virtually every single woman I have spoken with about this has admitted to me that she has been sexually harassed at some point - some have told me heart-breaking stories. As my son asked me, "How hard is it for guys not to act like jerks?"
- Speaking of women, I am SICK AND TIRED of my sister ministers and pastors being treated disrespectfully in their church jobs. I have never had anyone criticize me for what I wear in the pulpit - especially not my shoes or my hair - but every female minister I know has heard nonsense about the skirt she wore, the shoes she chose, the way she wore her hair. Seriously? This is nonsense! I have also never had people tell me they can't get used to me because I'm a man. But my sisters in faith have all heard this, sometimes said to them after they have been in the pulpit for a long time!
- I am SICK AND TIRED of all Muslims being condemned because of terrorists. In our own country, the Ku Klux Klan is a terrorist organization, and they also claim to be Christians. Do we automatically accept this? Certainly not! So why do we judge all Muslims because of the violent actions of a few crazies? This makes no sense, especially when I think of all the Muslim people I have been blessed enough to call my friends. They are gentle, wonderful, faithful people who make me think. They also pray five times each day (which makes me ask myself how often I have prayed each day!).
- I am SICK AND TIRED of feeling this way, so I am going to begin speaking out and writing much more. It does no good to keep it to myself because I am hate conflict. But my Savior is beginning to whisper in my soul about things being wrong and I am wondering what I can do about it. I have a voice, I have a pulpit, I have a social media platform or two...and I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I think I'll try this.