Before Bernie Sanders requisitioned the phrase “feel the burn“ for his campaign most people would’ve associated it with exercise. Those sadistic well-intentioned physical trainers could often be heard barking “feel the burn“ as they try to get just a few more reps out of you. Promising that you are only now getting the benefit of your workout. Let’s give it up for those who push us in the right direction.
There are lots of ways to feel the burn. Relationships? Many invitations to feel the burn there. Many believe that relationships are the sandpaper of life. A way to smooth out selfishness. Embrace diversity. Perfect inclusion. Perhaps the opportunities for intimacy, oneness, and wholeness are the greater attributes of relationships. Since love covers a multitude of sins, imperfections, and shortcomings, the way we treat those who disappoint us may tell us more about ourselves than it does about them. For the sake of thoroughness, let’s not forget, some relationships have never done anything but cause us to feel the burn. We all know what to do when disrespect is someone’s addiction.
These are interesting times if you look beyond the rhetoric permeating the atmosphere. Cultures are pressing their boundaries into expansion. Some areas of society are bound to grow from the pressure while others will simply pop like a balloon with too much air. Hate tends to run out of fuel. It doesn’t seem to ever evaporate it just hibernates until it finds emergence. People who are too stubborn to grow are feeling the burn of hyped-up immaturity and narrow-mindedness. Their tantrums are loud enough to disguise their minority status. I’m empathetic toward this segment of the population that believes accountability is for everyone else but them. I can disagree with you without calling you names, demonizing you, or wishing a fatal disease on you.
The “squeaky wheel gets the grease” philosophy has back-fired on us. Special Interests has become big business. One person in a family, who decides what they want is more important than what anyone else wants, creates havoc. The unity of shared things is replaced by competition. The natural flow of common good is disrupted. A Nation is an extended family. When any social class feels the burn of entitlement look for chaos to substitute teach.
Drinking “Jim Juice” is only possible when people swap principles for personalities. Money, power, and dominance has a shelf life. Ill gotten gain comes with an expiration date. Civility dives into decline whenever the “I know what’s best for you“ crowd takes over the thinking for all of us. You have a false sense of security if you think you are safe because your position happens to be currently headlining. This is what I’ve observed in my sixty years; Liberals don’t know when to put up a fence. Conservatives don’t know when to take a fence down. And, Progressives don’t know what a fence is.
I have felt the burn in love, hate, success, and failure. I’ve gained and lost several lives. I’ve felt the burn of dissension and I’ve felt the burn of comradery. I’ve been on the inside and I’ve been left out in the cold. I’ve been disillusioned and I’ve been surprised. I’ve lived long enough to know politics isn’t salvation and religion isn’t free of corruption. If I want things to be better it has to start with me.
I feel the burn that’s ignited in nearly every segment of society. My concern isn’t that we will burn up. Or, that we will burn out. My anxiety comes from watching the fires of hopelessness burn within. It’s unnecessary in my mind. We have become so individualized that none of us can live on our small slice of the pie. We were never meant to become islands unto ourselves. It’s not too late to fan the flames of community. Show me that you love yourself and I will be able to believe you care about me. I feel the burn to be at peace with myself and my fellow-man.
How are you Feeling the Burn?