I’m not okay…but that’s okay.
Yesterday I cried.
Okay, so maybe I should have prefaced that statement with some background information, such as the fact that I have not cried in at least a couple of weeks since we lost our baby girl. Also, the fact that yesterday was one month to the day that I delivered our sweet Angelina, saying hello and goodbye all in the same moment. Add to that, the soul-searing pain I’ve felt from the news of the Connecticut Elementary school shooting, and I was prime for some tears.
It sounds simple, but it was not. The truth is that lately, more than any other pervasive emotion, I’ve felt…nothing. Total numbness. I have been in a state of odd emotional neutrality. I sit in worship services and listen to songs about God’s love and raise my hands, but I don’t feel the same overwhelming assurance and presence that I’m accustomed to. I think about what happened a month ago with our baby girl and just shrug and think I’m past it all. In short, I’ve just been existing, not living, not feeling.
That all changed yesterday.
My husband has been in the middle of a message series on finance, and yet, late Saturday night, he felt the Lord move him to change his message topic entirely. If you’ve ever prepared a message, you know how scary that can be. You’ve already prepared one thing, and feel completely unprepared for what it is that God is asking of you. But Jason listened to God’s urging and talked not about finance, but rather, about grief, mourning, and how to deal with those times in life when God feels inattentive, uncooperative, or late.
I sat in my usual seat in the very back of the auditorium and listened. I nodded along, but still, I felt numb. Everything Jason was saying was true because it’s things I myself have spoken to others in encouragement before, as well. But still, I felt numb. That all changed when Jason began to make the message personal. He spoke of our journey with my cancer way back in our first year of marriage. And then, he spoke about our precious Angelina and how we are still grappling to understand God in the midst of our pain.
And the dam broke.
I am completely embarrassed to admit that I began shaking and crying so loudly that I eventually had to leave and hole up in the bathroom. My face was beyond repair, black splashes of eyeliner, mascara, or both, splayed down my face and observed by a pair of eyes that were as red as the shirt I was wearing. Speaking of that shirt, upon escaping to the bathroom, I realized it had acquired a large wet spot right in its center, apparently a result of my hiccuping tears that flew freely and, might I add, without my consent. Forget appearances. By this point, our church body must realize that they are being led by two people who are completely human and completely broken. We lead, not because we have achieved perfection, but because we are on the journey right along with them, and try always to listen to God’s commands for us and for our church body.
I am sad, I am broken, but at least I am feeling. Jason said something a few weeks back in regards to getting your financial life back on track, and yet, I’ve found it has become my own personal life mantra lately. He said:
“Recovery takes time, but peace can come now.”
That is where I am today. I am not okay, I am not recovered, but I do have peace. I am not without hope. I may not be okay, but I am alright. Did you know there’s a difference? Oh, let me tell you, there is. With God’s help, I plan to wrestle, shout, cry, and grapple with this until I eventually am not just alright, but okay, as well. There is no time-table for when that might happen, simply an understanding that with Christ, I am pressed, but not crushed (2 Cor. 4:8).
So, no, I’m not okay, but I’m learning that it’s okay to not be okay. One day, with God’s help, I will be okay again. Until then, I will try to live in the peace, and take time to feel. Feeling is part of healing. I have hope that one day I’ll be okay again.