It’s OK If You’re Not OK

Today, I feel little more than “that old ache” described by Lewis:

“Apparently, then, our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honor beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.”[1]

I set aside some time to write this morning, and despite having twenty topics from which to choose, I’ve got nothing. No motivation. No ideas. No creativity. There is a familiar sting that I’ve become acquainted with throughout my life. It is an overwhelming experience of simultaneous emptiness and desire. In the past I considered these feelings to be nothing more than manifestations of bad days or bouts of depression. And while this may be the case, there is also something deeper that is happening.

I believe that these feelings come from a longing to be reconnected with those things from which I feel cut off: God, the earth, people, and eternity. I feel “not OK” because I want something that is beyond my grasp, even beyond my comprehension. I believe we all have the desire to be reconciled with these things whether we know it or not. Therefore, while we live in this time and space, we will always sense that “old ache,” and life will sometimes feel inexplicably lacking.

On these days, the more beautiful something is, the more it hurts. The awe-inspiring moments that make up my days are slipping through my fingers like sand. My daughter’s smile, the embrace of my wife, and a ridge blanketed with fern, are all vanishing before my eyes.

On these days Christian platitudes repel from my surface like rain drops on a tin roof. My present experience is too deeply rooted, and I cannot be pulled free by words alone. I am really here. I am dying. Everything around me is dying. I have hope that one day this cosmic disease will be cured. And in addition to my hope, I have a distant memory stuck in my soul that tells me things aren’t supposed to be this way:

I wasn’t supposed to bury my dog…
My grandmother wasn’t supposed to scream, “I don’t want to die” as she died…
That pelican’s intestines weren’t supposed to be filled with broken lighters and Christmas tree tinsel…
That 16-year-old was not supposed to be slaughtered in my neighborhood…
That baby was not supposed to be born with Cystic Fibrosis…

But this is the way things are.

And on these days the way I feel doesn’t change regardless of how “real” my hope is. Because this is real life, and reality is something from which we cannot always escape. I need to be OK with where I am today. I need to accept what is real. I need to embrace my broken heart.

I’m like a rock rolling down a mountainside. I cannot help but move forward, but sometimes I’ll get caught up in a branch or lodged in a crack. And for a little while I’m stuck, and I cannot get unstuck until some external force jostles me back into motion.

If you’ve submitted to Jesus who is Lord, then you will move forward down the mountain of life, and you will be pulled into the renewed creation. But sometimes you will get stuck and everything won’t be OK for a while.

As I’m encouraging myself today, I’d like to encourage you as well. Its OK if you feel stuck. It’s OK if you’re not OK. Wherever you are, you can sit in that place for a while. You can be still and know that He is God. Wait on Him.

[1] C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory


One Comment

  1. Larry Smith

    I love this AJ. I’ve been off facebook so I’ve missed your blogs but decided to read a few today. I’m glad I did. I find this piece very powerful. You capture the condition of our sometimes stuckness very well. Thanks for this.

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