I am a learner. I study things obsessively. I question life. I question questions. I don’t settle for simple answers. I consider the perspectives and nuances of every situation. I wonder. I grow.
But sometimes I get tired.
I’m exhausted because I’m currently learning with running shoes on. I’m racing to be part of the solution in a world that desperately needs to reconcile across race, faith, gender, sexuality, ability, among many other things that separate us. I’m also racing to my own enoughness with a deep fear that my perceived lack will disqualify me from being a voice for the voiceless and a respite for those in pain.
Jumping into the work of diversity and justice after a lifetime of complete blindness and lack of social consciousness, I have found that the increased awareness of my world makes me feel like a bruised toe that is constantly being stepped on.
It all hurts.
When a pastor makes a homophobic joke or a friend writes a hateful post about transgender people, it hurts. When my high school and middle school daughters share stories of invisibility and injustice that they see at their schools, it frustrates me. When I experience or read about the inequity of medical treatment based on race and socioeconomic status, it makes me angry. When I come face to face with my own biases and how they manifest in my language and actions, it defeats me.
On a daily basis, I feel.
What I once thought was an everlasting fountain of empathy and compassion has become an empty well of vigilance and disappointment; a deep dark feeling in the pit of my stomach that nothing will ever change. I don’t like this feeling because pessimism is not in my nature.
So I reflect.
Reflection reminds me that knowledge is a process of discovery, never an absolute. This process requires willingness to engage with new information and the discomfort that may arise. I also accept that despite my impatience, information needs time to metabolize and synthesize. With this steep of a learning curve, I have to remember that the stakes will be high and the emotions will be deep.
Today I decide to take my running shoes off and slow down.
Let it all sink in.
Reach for no answers.