Resistance is not futile, but it is exhausting.
In the middle of the night following the election, as the sick reality was starting to set in, I began to get frantic texts, emails, and messages on social media from people who were trying to wrap their minds around the absolute worst-case scenario. They were processing what seemed like inconceivable information and the fear was fierce and rising quickly.
It was clear that tens of millions of people wouldn’t be getting to sleep that night. For many of us it feels like we still haven’t slept yet.
From almost those very overnight moments, people began pushing back; connecting with like-hearted strangers, organizing in their communities, planning protests, writing stories, calling representatives, doing their own investigative journalism, supporting one another emotionally.
The Resistance was born then, even as something in America was dying.
These already Herculean tasks of activism and civil disobedience have been made exponentially more difficult due to the speed, scale, and breadth of this Presidency’s ineptitude and recklessness. There’s been an endless stream of both real and manufactured crises to attend to; hate crimes in our neighborhoods, abuses of power at the highest levels, unprecedented carelessness with Constitutional law, refugee families stranded at airports, and an unrelenting flood of lies and misdirection—not to mention navigating the daily minefields of families, friends, churches, and co-workers with whom many of our relationships are in full-blown meltdown.
The net result is that we who resist are tired; fatigued not only physically but in the very depths of our souls. The human heart can only sustain so much until it gives out, and the number of people I know and hear from who are close to breaking is alarming. We need to address it.
On our best days, self-care is a dying art for many of us. It’s difficult with so little margin in our daily lives to nurture our own spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical wellness, let alone when adding historic levels of political sewage swirling into our lives by the second through our touch screens. Such neglect is not sustainable.
Friends, this work is critically important. It’s life-affirming and nation-altering and it is working—but it is exhausting too. There is a toll that compassionate activism takes on us; a weariness that begins to accumulate as we work and protest and read and fight—and give a damn. Often we don’t notice that weariness until we have broken down completely; until our bodies or marriages or careers have become casualties.
Today I wanted to encourage you to stop; to step away from the fray, to let someone else do the world-saving so that you can attend to yourself. Notice how tired you are. See the ways you’ve neglected relationships and sacrificed presence with people around you. Feel the depth of your grief and fatigue. Give your self permission to do nothing loud or important or heroic today. Be intentionally selfish for a few hours. (This doesn’t have to include chocolate, though it probably should.)
Clear a spot on your schedule, make some space to hear yourself breathe—and for God’s sake, disconnect from the buzzing urgency of your Twitter Feed so that you can slow your heart rate and see clearly again.
It’s not an abandonment of the causes dear to you, to withdraw and find rest; to do things that give you joy, to waste a few hours and simply be, to remember why life is worth living and why this planet is worth defending and why people are worth the struggle. These things are all part of sustaining this fight. They are a contribution to the work because they enable us to fight and yet not be consumed by the fight; not to become bitter and angry and resentful.
The battle for your health and your soul is as important as any you wage here on the ground.
Be passionate, but take time to pause and breathe.
Fight, but retreat to find your rest.
Be engaged, but be present to those in front of you.
Stay woke dear friends, but do get some sleep.
Resistance, be encouraged.