Have you ever been tired and don’t have any idea about the cause? That defines me today. It seems to define me more often these days, so I decided to go to the doctor.

Basically, he gave me a clean bill of health. He said my blood tests looked good, and after l lost 26 pounds, he was greatly encouraged.

I’m not diabetic; that’s good news. According to the good doctor, I’m not pre-diabetic either. I’m not anemic. My cholesterol is a little high, but nothing to lose any sleep over. If I’m such a specimen of good health, why am I so tired? That’s the question of the day.

I meet a lot of tired people. Lately, when a few counselees have come into the office, my first question is, “Would you like for me to step out for 20 minutes so you can catch a quick nap?” They laugh. They laugh because they know it’s not all that bad an idea.

We all know the look: No smile. Bags under the eyes. No spring in the step. No emotion in the voice.

Maybe it’s me, but I think the relativistic, consumer-driven philosophies of a post-modern and post-Christian era could be imploding our culture, and people simply cannot keep up.

We used to talk about trying to keep up with the Joneses. It’s the mindset that whatever my neighbor has, I have to have one, and possibly the latest model.

Just last week I was asked if I had an iPhone X. I said I had the 8. Without missing a beat, the young lady, with an attitude of disgust, informed me she had the iPhone X and was going to get the next model as soon as it came out. I have to say, I was not impressed.

I used to think the pace of life was going berserk. I don’t think so anymore. It’s the cultural expectations causing each individual to think they need more.

The instant access to information on your phone feeds the idea that no one should be a step behind. We submit to that mindset and it doesn’t take long until we are distracted consumers just trying to keep up.

A few weeks ago, I heard of a family that took all electronics away from their young son. He was having issues using them. Eventually, the parents realized things were not going well, including his attitude. They have been put away with no timetable for their return.

Did I hear a collective gasp? Yep, no cell phone, tablet or computer use unless necessary for school. It was time to break the addiction cycle for a very young child. Everybody expected withdrawal and anger to dominate. They were wrong.

The opposite happened. The young child’s pleasant attitude returned over the next few days. He began to return to life. His acceptance of his siblings sweetened. His parents reported that he said, “It’s amazing, I’m enjoying all of life once again.” They are not sure if the electronics will ever return.

I asked another set of parents a few hours ago why they felt it was necessary to give their 11-year-old daughter a cell phone. No, let me change that. I asked why they felt it was necessary to give their child a smartphone at such a young age. They said, “So she can get a hold of us at any time.”

The young child gave the better answer. She replied, “Well, everyone has them.” Does anybody realize that the young child is having access to a lot more people (good, bad and evil) than her parents? Are we blind to the fact that the good does not necessarily outweigh the bad?

I didn’t even mention that when we put more people into our life, including electronically, it eliminates time for family and God. We don’t live in a vacuum. Time given to one person takes away from time with another.

The word that replaces God is “I.” I need a phone. I need to be just like so and so. I want it. I have to be important. I have to be relevant.

There is nothing necessarily wrong with any of this stuff. It’s the user. The problem is they are all user-friendly.

I am concerned. Tired people do tired things. Suicide rates are up, especially among the young. Evil is only a few seconds away, and we might not even be looking for it at times. It’s not just the young. It’s everybody.

My grandkids came over the other day. I asked them if they wanted to take a ride to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. They happily agreed. We talked the whole way there and back. We laughed looking for gators and birds. They are probably the source of my tiredness. It’s worth it. No. They are worth it.

 

John Ring is minister of family counseling and community outreach at Grace Coastal Church in Okatie.