My neighbor came to pick up her daughter the other night. “Hi!” I said.
“Hi, how are you?” She said? “I’m alright, you?” “Good.”
And so it goes, “Good”, “Fine”, “Alright.”
Nothing wrong with saying the easy surface thing because who has time for the truth?
But I took a walk today and I thought, I don’t want to say the surface thing anymore. It’s boring and it doesn’t give any opportunity for grace or relating or freedom to be vulnerable and let someone else be vulnerable.
So, this is what I’m going to start saying:
How are you?
“I’m okay, things have been pretty good lately. Still dealing with marriage intimacy issues, waiting for God to bind up that mess. Better than it used to be. I’m up many nights with anxiety, fretting over my kids – “am I doing enough? Am I praying for them enough? Time is running out for me to teach them!” Still battling the comparison monster, you know, not feeling good enough, equipped, smart enough, etc. I was feeling depressed on Tuesday, couldn’t get out of my chair. Everything felt dark. Those days come every now and then. I cry over my mom sometimes, the grief just hits me and I’m not interested in stuffing it, so it just is. I actually cried in front of the neighborhood kids the other day as I was writing about her. I figure if anything they’ll see normal grief and maybe have a story to tell about their emotional neighbor one day. I make for a good memoir for someone.
But the thing is, I really am okay, today, right now. I know God will deal with this stuff. I know that tomorrow I might face something hellish. Sometimes life just hurts and I just have to sit in it, the pain. It comes and goes. I’m not fighting it, just sitting with it. “Here God, do something with this. I’ll wait. I love you. I trust you.” Most of the time I think I trust God. Sometimes I cry out and wonder, “are you even there?'”
That’s a lot of words. Maybe I’ll just say, “Okay and not okay. Life is painful and weird.”
Maybe my neighbor or the nice lady at the church desk doesn’t have time to hear all that truth, but that’s okay, I’ll say it anyway because maybe it will loosen something in her. Maybe it will show her that it’s okay to be “not fine” and to just be in the tangle of life and still be okay. Painfully, vulnerably, okay.
Love to you,
P.S. It’s okay if you’re also feeling awesome today. Those days are my favorite.