You see it everywhere you go. It's in their voice. It's in their actions. It's in their eyes. People are more than tired. More than frustrated. More than discouraged. They are running on empty.
Jackson Browne's 1977 hit "Running on Empty" certainly sounds prophetic(1).
Everyone I know, everywhere I go
People need some reason to believe
I don't know about anyone, but me
If it takes all night, that'll be all right
If I can get you to smile before I leave
That line, "People need some reason to believe" is speaking to us. Life seems hollow, empty, without meaning or purpose. And that is because we've emptied our hope tank. That reservoir of reserved energy, activity, positivity has run dry. It's been used up in the day-by-day toil of living under the shadow of a pandemic, covered by civil unrest, under a blanket of political discord and disagreement. We look at other people and assume that they are after us, against us.
The next verse also speaks to us all.
Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels
Look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through
Looking into their eyes, I see them running too
We all have "friends that we used to turn to" but they are too burned out, their hope tank is too empty "to pull us through." As a people, as a nation, as a culture, we are "running on empty."
The only possible solution is to admit the truth, that we are "running on empty" and need to be refilled, refreshed, renewed. And that's not going to come from any political view, economic theory, or even just chillin' at home, on a beach, on a mountain, in the desert. It's also not going to happen overnight, at a concert, at a retreat.
Our hope tank gets filled one person at a time, one kind act at a time, one hopeful voice at a time.
Will you help me help the next person we meet?
(1) Running on Empty, https://youtu.be/LNmIbSre7Tw, Songwriter: Browne Jackson, ©Swallow Turn Music