It’s okay not to be okay

Hilary Bond, Schools and Children’s worker for the Parish of Wareham, writes about the grief of the present moment:

I’m told it’s grief.

This thing that is leaving me unable to concentrate.

This thing that is giving me the gift of unexpected tears.

This thing that is bringing me to my knees in more ways than one.

How is it that the beauty of a flower that one day, or even one moment, takes me to a place of joy and contentment, can the next day induce such a deep sadness that the tears begin to flow again?

They say “it’s okay not to be okay,” but I’m okay. I’m strong. Me and God, we can do this.
I am in the greenhouse. Something has eaten the tops of all my celery seedlings.

It’s not a big deal. I have more seed.

I can replant and be more careful this time.

But it makes me sad; unreasonably sad.

I think of the locust swarms in Africa devouring the emerging plants and threatening people with starvation, and I am ashamed of my self-centredness. What business have I being sad about a few celery seedlings when elsewhere in the world people’s lives are being threatened by a plague of insects?

I have nothing to be sad about.

I’m not okay. And it’s okay not to be okay.

I am excited about the future. Excited because we have been given a huge opportunity in this. We have discovered, those of us who are allowing ourselves to make that discovery, that we can live without flying everywhere; without driving everywhere; even without some of the things that not so long ago we considered “essential.” We have begun to enjoy the taste of clean air in our cities; pictures of muddy waters settling and clearing; and birdsong being the loudest sound that we can hear. I am hopeful that we might move forward into a new and better world; but I am also fearful that the demands of big business and the economy could take us right back to where we were before.

The world is not okay. And within that it’s okay for us not to be okay.

We miss each other. Zoom is not the same as greeting someone with a hug and settling down at opposite ends of the sofa or across the kitchen table for a conversation. We weren’t made to be alone. We have a God who is Three-In-One; God with community and relationship inbuilt; and we are made in that same image. Missing each other, for most of us, it’s part of who we are.

We are not okay. And it’s okay not to be okay.

Grief is not reasonable. It doesn’t apply itself to you in proportion with the suffering of others; it simply dumps itself like an unexpected and unwelcome visitor.

You can choose to ignore it. It will slink off into a corner for a while.

Or you could just invite it in.

Sit with it.

Allow it to be what it needs to be.

It doesn’t mean that it will then go away and leave you alone; but when it visits again, you will be able to say, “I know you. I accept you as part of my life right now.” And through the tears, even though all is not well, the flower will still be beautiful, and God will still be God.

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