The sunrise was gorgeous. The clouds, the shadows, the lights, the vibrancy of the colors. A sight that takes my breath away and sends me searching for words, so I don’t lose the scene.
Today? Not so much.
I looked at it. I acknowledged its beauty. And I kept going. There was no pause, no fear of forgetting . . . no awe. As though it wasn’t enough.
For days my mind’s been spinning and getting nowhere, but being outside tends to settle it. So as the morning waned, I took a walk.
The clouds were still impressive. A Monarch butterfly floated by on the song of unseen birds. The breeze was lovely. It was the perfect fall mix of cool air and warm sun. I looked for, but didn’t see, the great blue heron that’s been hanging out by the creek this week. I crunched through dry sycamore leaves.
I saw it all. I heard it. I felt it.
But I didn’t.
Instead, a sensation rippled across my shoulders and pounded on the inside of my rib cage as though my skin couldn’t contain me.
My focus is fragmented. My breathing is shallow. Tears threaten.
Why? What is different about today? What knocked my soul off center and took the rest of me with it?
Nothing. And everything.
I’m just not okay. All the things—Dad’s cancer, friends’ struggles, disturbing headlines—assault me. They use my mind as a trampoline and my heart as a punching bag.
It’s little surprise that some days the most stunning sunrise can’t loose the vise holding my lungs. And sometimes the perfect walk can’t perfect the day.
So in this bruising season, I press into the tender places and let the twinges remind me that okay—and not okay—comes in many shades.
The internal hues of today are a little darker than the external ones. I feel out of place in my own skin, in my own life. But admitting the disconnect helps balance the colors. The saturation point of my soul shifts.
My “not okay” is okay enough for today.
Note: I don’t post in real time, so this was written on Friday, November 3. That was two days before my dad’s symptoms returned with a vengeance. After four nights in the hospital and five nights (and counting) in a skilled nursing facility doing rehab, the colors of “okay” and “not okay” are more blurred than ever. Many questions and unknowns remain in this season. And still, God is good today and every day.
I am touched by this post, and by the heartache I know you are feeling. Just want you to know that you and your family remain in our prayers every day.
So grateful for those prayers and your deep history with and love for our family!
This moved me deeply the first time I read it, and it does so again. Partly because it’s so true, so raw, so real but also because this is just the way you live–without artifice. We pray on, hoping.
Not so sure I live up to that, but, thank you. We do pray on!
Beautifully written. Described so many aspects of what my heart is experiencing. You truly have a gift. And we’re continuing to cover your family in super-prayers during this unsavory season. Love you.
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Love you, too! What a perfect description—”unsavory season”—to capture this.
Last week, a friend and I discussed the fact that many Christians (including ourselves) don’t share their true thoughts and feelings during times of struggles and trials. It seems we are either afraid to do so or feel that people really aren’t interested or care. As I read your post today, the core of my heart was flooded with emotions. The raw reality of “you” was laid bare for all to see and in a way that was tangible. I am thankful for this post because in it I see truth and the willingness to open your heart to those who love you. In that truth, I believe we learn how to pray for you and love you. But, I selfishly take away something for myself and that is encouragement. Encouragement knowing I am not alone in my rollercoaster of emotions as I deal with my own trials. Trials I’m sometimes unwilling to share; conflicting emotions I’m afraid to acknowledge to myself and others. The encouragement to be real to those around me. The encouragement to admit I’m not okay. Being “real” is scary, so I thank you for your honesty. For in it, Kristen, I also saw Christ.
Oh, Mary Ann, thank you! I totally agree it is so hard to be—and to give others room to be—upfront about how we’re feeling and admit when things are hard and ugly (and as a slow processor, sometimes by the time I have words for it the situation is past!). Yet when I take the risk, I almost always find the response to be “me too” and not the sideways looks I expect. I’m so glad this encouraged you!! Thank you for joining in the vulnerability with me. Love you!
Just know I am praying for you and your family. Your dad and mom have been a blessing to my family. Your dad always encouraging others and with a smile.
Thank you for sharing.
Thanks, Gail—I’m so grateful for all my prayer moms and your prayers!!
Thanks for sharing, Kristen. You have such a way with words, and I always relate to the feelings or state of mind you describe. I am praying for you, your dad, and family.
Thanks, friend—we need to catch up in person some time!
As I read this on THIS day (17th anniversary of K’s Homegoing), I am reminded of the blur… and the clarity. Two ‘opposing’ concepts, yet they dwell together. The blur is the storm… the clarity is Jesus holding his hand out to us: ‘Keep your eyes on me. Keep on walking.’
Your postscript continues to be true… God is GOOD, all the time. We continue to pray for all of you.
I am blessed to be in your sphere of influence! I love you and your family more than I can communicate.
Was thinking about her this morning—her voice and her smile are still fresh in my mind! I can’t quite envision my life without you and your family’s presence, and I’m grateful I don’t have to. It’s a privilege to be one of your prayer kids.
You’re so right, Jesus’ hand never wavers in the storm, AND we still have a responsibility to fix our eyes on Him and move toward Him.
As we are walking similar paths right now, your words describe what I am feeling, but don’t have the words to describe. Thank you for sharing!
Love you, Debbi! I so wish I could take this pain away for you—trusting Jesus to hold you extra tight right now!!
Kristen, I have no words…just many prayers and much love for you and your family. Thank you for sharing so deeply and honestly.
Love you so much! And so very, very grateful for your prayers and all the amazing ways you (and Mick) have loved our family for decades!!
Such a beautiful telling of life– it is days that are OK and days that are not. Thankful for your insight, for your clarity Kristen. You speak for a lot of us. You know we are praying with you all for your Father’s struggles in these days. God have mercy. Love you and your dear Mom.
Those prayers are carrying us, and we are so grateful for the incredible ways you’ve loved and supported us. Big hugs!