, , , , , ,

I have decided that what is, “wrong with young people” is that nothing is wrong. Seriously, they are simply healthy young people trapped in a world gone mad. I honestly believe that 90% of our afflictions are about being told we have afflictions rather then the truth which is that, the world is broken.

The world has always been broken. I’ve been doing this for more than half a century and I still need Jesus just to get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes I can’t even manage that.

This idea that everyone is supposed to just be a healthy, well adjusted, successful individual in a world that has completely lost its mind, is just crazy. Anxiety is normal, depression is normal, confusion is normal. And by “normal,” I mean a normal reaction to an unhealthy environment. I watched in real time as our culture went from, “stress is killing you” to, if you don’t magically figure out how to avoid all stress you probably have some kind of mental disorder. You, you are the only defective unit in this equation.

Or perhaps not? Perhaps the world is just really broken?

All seriousness aside however, I’m going to totally blame all these life hack videos. You know the kind, how you can just grow six tons of potatoes in recycled pop bottles. How to have perfect make up by just using dental floss. How I saved my spare change in high school and bought myself a sustainable homestead on graduation day.

Lifehacks. The secrets to success. The stuff nobody ever told you. Bet you didn’t know you could just rebuild your engine with a potato peeler, did you? It’s not our fault you’re driving around burning more oil then gas! Get on that, stop wasting all your money on tattoos and go buy a potato peeler.

I watch some of these videos with amusement, with curiosity, but lately they have just been weighing heavy on me. First there is an assumption that, no one ever told you how to do life. They kept the secrets of success from you. They hoarded all the life hacks and left you to just struggle. What a bunch of jerks! Then there is the guilt, the shame. I tried growing a bushel of potatoes in some recycled pop bottles and all I got was half a sprout. There must be something wrong with me. I must be doing life wrong.

I hesitate to say anything. I don’t want to dash any youthful optimism. I don’t want to squash any innovation or creativity. The truth is however, you just can’t do it all, be it all, and have it all, and it isn’t your fault. No one can do that! And there is a lot about the game that is rigged, and not rigged in your favor.

I spent a few years in a church that just harangued young people week after week. No surprise here, but I was actually the only “young people” there and I’m not even very young. I honestly gave it my best shot, but the relentless contempt just got too overwhelming. Every Sunday it was, “You know what’s wrong with the world?” Nope, but I’m sure you’re going to tell me and I’m sure it’s all my generation’s fault.….

Recently I was at an anti-mandate, vaxx protest, very peacefully waving a sign, and the contempt from some was just palatable. You could feel it and if you had any doubts. the one finger salutes and cursing out the window from, well off elders in fancy cars, helped to really drive the point home. Never mind vaxxs and mandates, I was astounded that little old grey haired ladies would behave that way out in public. We were friendly, we were happy, we were not worthy of that kind of abuse. It was totally inappropriate. It was hateful.

I kept trying to bring some humor into the situation by saying, “Sorry, grown ups shouldn’t behave that way,” because they shouldn’t, because we expect a certain amount of decorum and maturity from the mature. What I saw was just ugly, what I have been seeing around here of late, is just ugly. Seriously, grown ups don’t behave like that, because we’re supposed to be acting like grown ups.

I actually prayed, Lord don’t ever let me become like that old gal. Make my heart softer and my nature gentler. Keep me humble, keep me kind, and steer me away from falsely believing that what worked in my day should just work in theirs. Protect me from contempt and arrogance and make my patience and grace extend far beyond my years.

I know He’ll grant me that prayer, because that is the nature of God, the heart of the Father, and I know this because that is how He has always treated me, with infinite patience and grace. And in my own life, I’ve often been blessed with the most amazing old people, funny, full of grace, and full of gentle wisdom. Let’s just make a whole lot more of that in the world.