Sometimes it seems as if there are two kind of people in the world, the total whiners and the Stoics. Many older people belong to the Stoics, “I can’t complain…. it wouldn’t do any good anyway.” I’m too young for that bunch, but they are still my people, they are who I have been blessed to get to know. Stoics R us.
However, I’m just going to come out and say it, you really should complain. Complaining is kind of an art form, so there is the kind of complaining that is just constant whining. Murmuring. Why did people once spend 40 yrs wandering aimlessly about in the desert? Because they couldn’t stop murmuring. We still see that kind of thing today, people so consumed by murmuring, they couldn’t enjoy the promised land if it landed on their head. Also, they won’t lift a finger to do anything about it.
But then there are the Stoics, can’t complain, nobody would listen anyway. It just is what it is. “We just are who we are.” That last one, by the way, is actually the very motto of our tiny town, and although it is somewhat comical, it is also very resigned, almost nihilistic. We just are who we are, it just is what it is, can’t complain, it wouldn’t do any good anyway.
I totally object. It’s a message of complete resignation. Learned helplessness, hopelessness even. Don’t even expect things to change or get better. Just let it all go, because it just is what it is. I actually blame the Serenity Prayer, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. And that’s that. The end of the story. Often it seems as if nobody knows the rest of it like, “the courage to change the things I can….”
This dark cloud of complete resignation tends to get on my nerves after a while and it often presses down on me. We really are impacted by our environment and by the attitudes of the people around us. Also, hope can be kind of painful. There’s always the risk of disappointment. After a while you just stop getting up. I try to remember that truth, because I tend to be extremely impatient with people and this spirit of resignation and acceptance that can afflict us.
If you can’t complain, you can’t object to what is objectionable. If you can’t complain, then you can’t speak life over the things that are all wrong, either. If you can’t complain, then you can’t reach out for healing. If you can’t complain, then you can’t hope either.
So people, “We just are who we are,” doesn’t work for me. While self acceptance is awesome, we are not called to just stay stuck there. There is another way, a better way, once actually called The Way. There are a bazillion things wrong with this area, and with our attitudes, and there is so much suffering because of it. So, “we just are who we are” is simply going to have to change, by Royal Decree even, because I happen to be stuck here too, and unwilling to simply resign myself to, it just is what it is.