A friend once told me the story of how she gave up pizza and ranch dressing for Lent. For forty days and forty nights she fasted. When the days of discipline had ended, she rewarded herself with pizza and ranch dressing. She then became violently ill.
About seven years ago, as a direct result of reading too much, I found myself in a personal experiment of extreme diets. For three months I ate no sugar, no dairy, and no meat or eggs. One evening we were invited to a graduation party for someone at church. I decided to eat like a normal person that night. They had all the regular graduation food–veggie trays, sandwiches, cheese and crackers, chips, mini bacon and barbecue hot dogs, meat balls, and deviled eggs. Within five minutes I looked five months pregnant again.
A few weeks ago I logged into Facebook after being deactivated for many months. I wanted to see what was going on with the election. I was instantly irritated. Facebook doesn’t irritate me. I’m normally a happy to be friends with everybody lets see whats happening in the world and oh how sweet type of Facebook user. It’s like my soul revolted against the foreign onslaught of opinions and pictures. Within five minutes I was gone again.
I didn’t get back on again until today. For crying out loud, I just wanted to be a part of things. I miss the news. I miss the groups. I miss the people. I miss the outside world. I love the rush of happenings and the buzz of conversations and the non-stop whirlwind of a life that never sleeps. What are people saying? What are people saying? What in the world are people saying? Last time I got angry. This time I was sad. This time I cried.
People are upset. People are in pain. People are in shock and mourning. People are praising God for intervening. I’m suddenly being pulled too many directions. I’m absorbing the feelings of too many people. Now I’m watching speeches on YouTube. My kids are supposed to be folding laundry. They’re not listening. Nobody is listening. I am hungry to hear. I am hungry to understand. But this isn’t my place. The results are in. I can’t live in two different worlds.
You know what this means? It means I’m just as intolerant as everybody else. You know what I can’t stand? When people can’t take the time to listen to someone else’s voice besides their own. I can’t stand when people seem incapable of sympathizing with another person’s suffering. I’m seeing how I’ve tricked myself into thinking my intolerance to be a holier kind. I’m seeing my lack of love is just as prevalent. Because you know what I really can’t stand?
I can’t stand people who are different from me.