More than a stereotype.

I know Thanksgiving was last week, but I’d like to start this post off with a few things I’m thankful for.

I celebrated my 20th birthday recently. And my sixth spiritual birthday. I can’t believe it’s only been 6 years since I became a  Christian, I can’t imagine not knowing God. I also can’t believe I’m no longer a teenager, after seven years of it, I almost forgot what that’s like, I hop my twenties are the plus side of not being a teen.

I’m thankful for my family, they are doing better for the most part, and we recently found out we have a family member we’ve never met. My dad has a half brother, I could swear it’s like a movie.

I’m thankful for my friends…because I actually have some finally! And I’ve been getting to know them better over the past few months.

I’m glad for making good grades despite feeling overbooked this semester.

I’m thankful for RWBY providing me with a lot of interesting content to think about and enjoy.

And of course I’m thankful for all of you. I had not idea I’d ever make it to 80+ followers.

Now, on the subject of thankfulness, I’d be the millionth person to write about that at this time of year, but it’s truly something we need to remember every single day. And honestly, I don’t. I’m not a negative person but I don’t stop and thank God for things every day, and I really should, because school is teaching me I have it really good.

We had to read “Death of a Salesman,” over the holiday. Real cheery play, perfect for the occasion–can you hear the sarcasm?

At this point I’ve become philosophical about the darker content. At least the dramas are easier to stomach than the poetry was, poetry really shouldn’t be dark.

I digress. I had a revelation reading about the terrible people in this play, terrible in that their mediocre, petty, and false. I just stopped on one page, and understanding rose up inside me. I thought “I am happier in my simple life than people like this will ever be, because they strive for money, recognition, and gratification. They want to prove they are something, and prove they’re a real man (or woman) and prove that they’re the big shot…and it’s all vanity. And I don’t need to prove anything, and I don’t need money or fame to be happy. I’m more content now then someone like that has ever been.” Of course I didn’t think it in those exact words, but you get it.

It just fully hit me for the moment that what bothers me about these plays we read and stories too is the incessant hunger I find in them for what doesn’t matter. People have some agenda to push, some need to be affirmed by people whom they resent. I find resentment, envy, hatred, and selfishness in all of them. I realize it reflects what the author thinks people strive for and even what they need. They think people are that petty and can’t connect. Endless hunger and discontent drives these stories.

And I can’t believe how foreign that feeling is to me, like, what world are they living in.

You know, I’m not unaware of those feelings, of course I do have that restlessness sometimes, I think all young people do, and older folks too. But by the grace of God, it has never turned me into the monster you find in these stories and dramas. Everyone is either cheating on their wife or destroying their relationship with their family…or raping someone, or murdering someone. You know, like most people do when they are down on their luck…yes, I’m being sarcastic.

If I’m honest, I’ve blundered a lot in my relationships, and I’ve even destroyed them. Butt at my worst, I’ve never done what the people in these stories do. I attribute that to God, because I know that in my selfish human nature I have the capacity to do things like that, but in my redeemed new nature, I would never do it.

These stories would make you afraid to love anyone if you didn’t believe in a God who can change people’s hearts. We read these stories and know that we are like that. We’re petty and selfish and envious and discontent.

We are like that in our flesh. But fortunately I don’t believe that is all we are. I feel so sorry for my classmates who have no defense. no reason to say “That’s not the end of the story.”

The more I see of what people are thinking and saying, especially ones my age, the more I pity them. I pity them because they are so, so lost.

Young people are desperate for faith. They are looking for someone to be willing to have it. They don’t have it themselves because they’ve had different opinions battering them since grade-school. Many don’t actually want to abandon the idea of God, they just aren’t sure how they can hold onto it. They doubt they are smart enough to figure it out.

Young people are aware of how they are stigmatized, and they believe it. That is the saddest thing. They believe they are stupid, shallow millennials, who are fit only to embrace the stereotype culture has of us.

Most of them care about more than just their phones and their shows, but they talk about that because they feel incapable of talking about anything else. If you aren’t mingling with them, you don’t realize…the ache is palpable.

Man, they want to connect, they just don’t have a clue how to. No one taught us to.

You don’t realize it, but no one did. I was never taught how. I had to learn. TV didn’t help. TV would have taught me to be selfish and snarky if I went by how kids are portrayed on the shows.

We’re called flaky and air-headed, and maybe we are. (Not me obviously.) But…we are expected to be. We don’t know any different. In fact, it’s part of our culture to expect flakiness.

That’s another subject, but what I’m trying to say is this stereotype is killing us faster than social media is, not because we may be addicted, but it’s because we’re written off that we are not helped.

Guess what, it’s not us who don’t care. It’s not us who are apathetic, it’s the 40+ year olds who’ve decided we’re losers who are beyond hope. I assume, if you’re reading this, that’s not you. But I bet you know some.

I am not condemning the previous generation. Millennials frustrate me too, but they are not what I was told either.

I do not think we can change the culture as a whole quickly or easily, but what falls to us is to reach out to people we do know. And to try to rediscover what connecting with them means. Our hunger for it isn’t going away, and Netflix can’t fool us into accepting a substitute forever. But I don’t want us to let that depress us, I think we should be excited that we get to rediscover friendship. If we don’t let fear stop us.

And I’m not being naively optimistic. There’s plenty we’ve lost. But I refuse to believe that that’s the end of the story.

Until next time–Natasha.

 

 

 

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