If you have been following me on social media, you know that I gave myself a completely made up writing challenge. The day I posted about starting the challenge I wrote “The rules don’t matter, the point is simply to write.” To ensure I would stick to the challenge, I picked out a number of writing prompts that I thought could be fun to explore. I stuck to my writing challenge for four days, then I took a break to share a book I had loved reading. On day five (okay, actually day six because of the book) I opened up my computer and read my writing prompt.
“Write about bad days”.
I remember thinking “bad days? I can totally do this. I have bad days all the time”. It’s no secret that I am incredibly dramatic. So my plan was to write about the “bad day” I had when Dan didn’t want to take me to get ice cream and said no when I wanted to order all 100 books on my Amazon Wish-list. I imagined keeping it light and silly, and tying a pretty little bow around it. Everyone would comment about their “ridiculous” bad day and we would all laugh at how dramatic and fun we are.
Then I started to write and I realized this isn’t a topic I could just blow off. I spent DAYS writing, deleting and rewriting. After writing, deleting and rewriting I would close the computer screen and think about giving up on writing all together. I would dream about throwing literal words away so they could never be used by other humans again. Then I would open my computer and just repeat all these steps at least 4,267 more times. I already said the point of this challenge was to write, but this really wasn’t what I had in mind when I came up with this challenge. On the 4,268th attempt to write about bad days, I realized I was going to need more space then social media would give me. So here we are.
Last night, I got home from work cranky. Maybe cranky isn’t the right word, the day really wasn’t bad, it was just full. “Extra tired” is a better way to describe how I felt. I walked into house the with a plan to get dinner cooked and eaten as quickly as possible because I had a zoom call I needed to join. Everything was going great, until my brown sugar container slipped out of my hands.
Okay, it probably feels like I missed an important part of this story. Years ago my mother in law gave me two antique pyrex containers – a small one and a large one. I have always loved them. The small one currently sits on the top of my kitchen cabinets because it is too special to get rid of, but too small to really keep anything in it. The large one has held brown sugar for years. It’s just the perfect size to keep a full bag of brown sugar nice and safe. Plus it always looked so pretty. A few weeks ago, while organizing the pantry, I told Dan that if anything ever happened to that container, I would be devastated.
Last night, I took the brown sugar out of the pantry to use some in our dinner. I have taken that brown sugar out of our pantry and put it back away without incident millions of times. Maybe I was going too quickly, or maybe the container decided it could not handle one more day with me, but whatever happened, it flew out of my hands and shattered on the floor. The kitchen was covered in broken glass and brown sugar.
I wanted to cry, but instead I stood in the kitchen and got quiet. I was too angry to cry. I had too much to do. Dan jumped into action and together we cleaned the kitchen floor. Today, I ran home for lunch and opened the pantry to grab some ingredients. When, I noticed that the spot that the container used to sit was empty, and that’s when all the tears came. I cried as I made my lunch and then just sat in the quiet house. As I ate, I told God I was mad.
I am absolutely upset about the broken container, but I am sure by now you have figured out that tears had little to do with the broken glass and the lost brown sugar. Sometimes grief catches me and takes my breath away. Sometimes the weight of waiting feels exhausting. Sometimes life feels heavy. Sometimes a broken antique glass full of brown sugar makes all those emotions bubble to the surface.
I strongly believe that it is “okay not to be okay”, however I have always had to tack on some disclaimer. “The antique broke, but at least I have another” or “I’m heartbroken, but it was just brown sugar” or “It sucks, but I am thankful that none of the glass hurt us” Somehow a bad day without some disclaimer of hope made me feel like I was less “Christian”, I had small faith or maybe I had lost all my hope.
On the scale of bad days, there are worse days than what I experienced yesterday. Days that take my breath away and threaten to sink me. When I think of really bad days, I think of terrible life altering situations. The day we were told we had lost our babies. The day my Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Others that I won’t name, but you get idea. Those days live in our memories as hard dark days, and yet, I still look for disclaimers.
It’s so heartbreaking that we lost our babies, but at least I know we can get pregnant. It sucks that my Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, but I am so thankful he will still live a good life. I feel exhausted because we have been waiting for over ten years to be parents, and our situation doesn’t look any different. But God is still so good.
Here’s the thing, bad days suck. It’s so much easier to just skip over the bad things that happen around us. However, if we truly believe that it’s okay not to be okay, we have to learn to fully sit in the discomfort of not being okay. It’s so heartbreaking that we lost our babies. Period. No fake disclaimer of the bright side needed. It sucks that my Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Period. No thankfulness about his good life needed. I feel exhausted. Period. No disclaimer that God is still good.
Feeling frustrated towards the situations around us, does not make our faith small. Feeling sad because we are grieving, does not mean we are without hope. Feeling angry after a new diagnosis (or the reminder of an old diagnosis) doesn’t mean we no longer believe God is good. God created each of us with complex emotions, and He called His creation good.
If you are the middle of a bad hour, a bad day or a bad week I want to tell you that I am sorry. It sucks so much. I also want to encourage you to feel your feelings. Be sad. Be mad. Be frustrated. Feel all the complex emotions that God created you to have… no joy filled disclaimers needed.
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