Aren’t you getting a bit tired of being outraged?
Isn’t it kind of exhausting? Don’t you feel at times like you’re walking through mud, dragging a chain tethered to the weight of what seems like an infinite number of social injustices and threats to liberty that just jumble together like some sour, unpalatable stew? Aren’t you tired of it all—having everyone point and demand that you take a stand on this, or pick a side on that, or listen to this, or read that, or attend this, or speak up on that as if each of you were put on this earth solely for the purpose of being the warrior for everybody else’s cause except your own pursuit of happiness? Each of you pressured to be the guardians of cultural morality that, trust me, changes on a near daily basis.
Aren’t you getting tired of it all?
What’s permitted today will be banned tomorrow—what offends today will be commonplace a week from now with your past positions fossilized for all time in three lines of Twitter. That is how the world works these days. The social and political landscapes, they undulate like a cauldron of lava under some primordial bog, and it takes all of your energy to just keep from falling off the rope bridge suspended above it all. And you sob and worry, and gaze up at the ceiling and tremble at the possibility that you may not be woke enough, or patriotic enough, or posted enough memes, or wore enough ribbons or caps, or planted enough yard signs so that a beacon of light from Wi-Fi heaven might shine down upon you and illuminate your compassion or your soldiering for freedom for all on Instagram to see.
Aren’t you tired of it all . . . haven’t you had enough?
I’ll tell you a little secret. True compassion for others—the love for your fellow man and fellow woman—its roots may lie dormant at times but it lives. It lives eternal in each of you. It needs no bespeckled bumper sticker or looped piece of ribbon. It needs no self-promotion, it needs no yard sign or flag. It will burst forth like cherry blossoms in spring, right out of your skin from every pore if you are open to hope, faith, love, and the changing perspectives that the aging of your eyes and the opening of your mind will bring you. It’s part of your journey of life and self-discovery. Do not fret for one minute if the cause of the day doesn’t bring you to your knees or move you to tears. You aren’t some soulless vessel. Chances are, the things you hold dear do not move them much either. Just be open to understanding and in time you will find a healthy balance.
But for now, know that the pulse of a nation is measured by the heartbeats of the men and women, young and old, like you who are committed to its peace and prosperity. Each of you contribute to the essence of America, its energy, its radiant warmth, its movement, its sound, its cadence . . . it’s all dependent on you. America is its people. It’s you . . . it’s us.
But we cannot be that envisioned blanket of warmth, that beacon of hope and light that’s supposed to emanate from the towering lamp of freedom that guards our sunset gates if our heartbeat constantly pounds with a rhythm of outrage.
We cannot sit hand in hand with our brothers and sisters on Reverend King’s red hills of Georgia and dream his dream of days when every valley shall be exalted and every hill shall be made low if our blood always runs thick with anger.
We can’t bask in the waters that flow from purple mountain majesty and feed the amber waves of grain if we sip from a well where only the people who look, and pray, and love, and vote like us are welcomed. Where we cancel out the sounds of diversity of thought because some idiot on TikTok told us so.
Our path to freedom of independent thought, our path of self-determination, our path to understanding, our path to happiness does not begin on the beaten and worn-down slopes of the mountain fury.
It takes the poet’s road less traveled. Where each step along the way falls more softly than the next. The entrance to that trail starts on the gentle hillside of hope . . .
God bless you, graduates . . . God bless you on this journey.
Dr. Louis M. Profeta is an emergency physician practicing in Indianapolis and a member of the Indianapolis Forensic Services Board. He is a national award-winning writer, public speaker and one of LinkedIn's Top Voices and the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Patient in Room Nine Says He's God. Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org is welcomed. For other publications and for speaking dates, go to louisprofeta.com. For college speaking inquiries, contact email@example.com.
Dr Louis M. Profeta is an emergency physician practicing in Indianapolis. He is one of LinkedIn's Top Voices and the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Patient in Room Nine Says He's God. Dr Louis holds a medical degree from the Indiana University Bloomington.