She was upset, trying hard not to cry, but obviously saddened.
We were at church and I didn’t have the patience to deal with her drama.
“Honey, you don’t need to be upset, you are fine” I said to her, with little sympathy or compassion.
A friend of ours walked up to us to say hello. He looked down at my tiny girl and asked her what was wrong. She hid in my skirt, trying to hide her tears and I automatically responded with, “She’s fine.” He looked at me and said with all sincerity, “Really? Because she doesn't seem fine.”
His words hit me and I said, “You’re right, she’s not fine.”
I kneeled down to her level and hugged her and reassured her that mommy would try to fix whatever it was that she was upset about.
In that moment; in that one wise statement of my dear friend I realized what I was doing to my little girl was wrong.
It’s easier to say, “I’m fine. Everything is fine.” But that small word holds a great deal of lies! Most of the time, when people reply with, “Fine. Everything is fine,” things aren't fine, yet it is what we as a society do. We hide the truth, try to present the illusion that all is right with our world, that nothing is harming or hurting or hindering us in any way.
Webster defines fine to have many definitions. Fine means to be good or satisfactory; free from impurity; physically trained; delicate; superior in quality; marked by refinement.
Yet, when we use the word fine we aren't referring to our life as being free from impurity or superior in quality. No, we are saying it is simply satisfactory, if that much.
Without realizing the power of that one little word, I was teaching my daughter to hide behind the fabricated truth and the mask that says, “Don’t worry about me, I can handle anything, I’m fine.”
In that little word, I was teaching her to stifle her emotions, her fears, her hurts and not show the world her truth, her impurities or her delicate nature.
In that little word, I was teaching her to fain strength in a world that praises the well trained who push away the hurt and fight against the weakness.
But the truth is that she wasn't fine.
We aren't fine.
None of us are.
Sometimes life stinks. Sometimes our days are hard. Sometimes we just want to cry and one little thing sets us off and the rest of the day just follows suit. Sometimes we are weak and broken and hurt and sometimes, we just can’t handle anything that comes our way. For no matter how hard we train, we will always have to be refined.
For my little girl, whatever was upsetting her that day was a big deal to her. It may not have been a big deal to me, mom and adult, but it was to her. And instead of showing her love and compassion and sympathy, I showed her disdain, annoyance and frustration.
How many times am I her? How many times do I crumble beneath the weight of my day and turn from the tears that are about to stream down my face? How many times do I feign strength despite the weakness? How many times do I pretend and say, “I’m fine.”
It’s what we have been taught to do.
We have been taught to not cry in front of people or they will see you as weak.
We have been taught not to show people our fears or failures, because then they may suspect we aren't perfect or strong.
And I want to yell…GET OVER IT!
None of us have it together. None of us are perfect! NONE OF US ARE FINE!!!
We are all at times barely making it. Life is hard and sometimes things don’t work out the way we planned and our days are overwhelming and tiresome.
There are days when I am overwhelmed with housework…I know, it’s really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but you know what, being overwhelmed with housework makes me feel like a failure and it’s NOT FINE.
There are days when my kids drive me crazy. Seriously. When their fighting and whining and complaining are about to throw me over the edge and I want to cry because they don’t seem to listen at all and I am obviously raising unthankful, disobedient children and I feel completely unqualified for this parenting gig...it’s NOT FINE.
There are days when I don’t want to do any of this anymore. I don’t want to read my bible, I don’t feel like praying and my faith is weak because in that moment I don’t believe any of it. I don’t believe 'in my weakness He is strong,' I don’t believe 'I am more than a conqueror' and I feel like I’m a real fake and it’s NOT FINE.
What are we afraid of? Showing people the truth? Being real? Being vulnerable?
I was teaching my little girl all of those things in that one four letter word. And now, I must undo my teaching. Because now, when she’s upset, she automatically responds with, “It’s fine, I’m fine.”
Oh dear one, I’m so sorry.
You aren't fine. None of us are. We are all simply trying to get by, to breathe in and out and walk up this mountain called life. Sure compared to most, we are “fine,” but who is comparing? Who is so concerned with our perfections? No one else, but ourselves. And so my darling, don’t hide behind “fine,” but stand in your truth. Even if that truth is weakness and frailty in the moment, lift your head in that weakness, because that weakness makes us malleable and in that frail state, He refines us, takes away our impurities and makes us really perfect, and pure, without blemish or stain. You are just like the gems and jewels you delight and marvel in and in the light, you can see His reflection.
Once you allow Him to reveal His truth and His strength within you, then, beloved, will you truly be Fine.
You are His Beloved,
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