These are the words I use to try to convince myself and others that it will be, “Okay.” They are not usually words I use when it actually IS okay.
“It’s okay.” “It will all be, okay.” Are the words other people use to try to convince me and themselves of the same.
It’s one part desire, one part denial. A weird mocktail we serve up to each other when we’re in pain or fear.
Except: it isn’t always okay. It isn’t always going to be okay. People die. Homes burn. Addictions win. Jobs are lost. Pain hurts. Cancer and other illnesses strike. (I promise this post will turn out “okay” just keep reading through the ugly realities…) None of which are: “Okay.”
“Okay” is a word of positive affirmation. Cancer, death, loss, grief and all the heartbreak they bring are not “Okay.” They suck. Even if things do improve it’s still not okay in the middle of it.
I struggle with okayness. I want people to think I’m okay. I want them to believe it will be. I want to believe I’m okay. I want to believe it will be. So. I say it. A lot. Like a lying parrot. “It’s okay” as I pack wounds for months. “It’s okay, as I try to help solve the myriad issues with navigating life and a career with a catheter for my husband. “It’s okay” is what I tell my youngest as we head out the door for yet another ER trip. “It’s okay” I mumble to myself as my eyes tear up in the cereal aisle at target because I cannot remember who likes what cereal. “It’s okay” is what I say when I get home with the same cereal I always buy only to realize we have no milk.
You know what I’m learning? It’s okay that it’s not okay.
Through out scriptures, God never once says it’ll be “Okay.” He promises to be with us in the not Okay. He promises not to forsake or leave us in the not Okay.
Two of the most powerful words in the bible are: Jesus wept. Why did Jesus weep? Because it wasn’t “okay.”
The bible says Jesus was a man acquainted with grief, and that he knows our weaknesses and understands them. Jesus loves us through the “not okay.”
Here’s the thing: I get that in the end, God’s love wins. There will be no more sin, sickness, pain, loss, worry or, even death. That’s better than “Okay.” However-there sure is a lot of “not okay” between here and there.
Pretending doesn’t change the not okay. Denial doesn’t change the not okay. If my words, thoughts, belief or desires had that kind of power, a lot of things would be different. They aren’t.
Today? It’s not okay. Today? I’m Not okay. I’m a hot mess , wrapped in a hot mess. But you know what? Jesus is with me in the not okay. Jesus understands the not okay. Jesus can handle the not okay. Maybe it’s time to let him.
Today, I’m having lunch with friends who know how to be with each other in the not okay, without denial, without trying to fix, without judgement. It matters. It helps.
Much more than my attempts at making things “okay.”
Maybe today you’re not okay either. Maybe you feel guilty or less than because you can’t make things okay. Maybe you’re frustrated with others telling you it’s okay when you know it’s not. Maybe you feel a little insane-r because of that. Maybe you’re even making yourself insaner.
Me too. You are not alone, to you I want to say: it’s not okay. The pain? The loss? The fear? The sickness? It’s not okay. I don’t know if it will get better, but I do know this: we can both get through it. Together. With friends. And with the God who whispers to us: ” I am with you always- even in the not okay.”