Pastor Jim Melvin
A friend of mine called me the other day and asked me how I was doing. “OK,” I responded, and then we launched into a conversation about how to resolve a computer problem he was having which was the purpose of his call. Mind you this was a close friend of mine. After I hung up something about our conversation nagged at me. I was not OK. Another close friend of mine had just died. I’m stressed by the isolation and disruption of life caused by the covid pandemic. I’m depressed by the political discord in America that has only worsened after the election. How could I be OK?
Then I did something I’ve never done before. I called my friend back and said, “You know, I’m not OK.” My confession ended up in us talking for over an hour with both of us sharing honest emotions about how we were both struggling to cope with life in the time of covid. By the end of that hour I felt a little bit more OK.
Now, sometimes it’s OK to say we’re OK even when we’re not OK. If you spill your guts every time somebody says “how ya doin?” they’ll, pardon the expression, start avoiding you like the plague. OK is a polite place holder that greases the gears of superficial, non-intimate conversation. It is important that we are aware of that, lest we start using OK as a crutch, as I did in this case, to avoid dealing with our real feelings.
It is important for us to realize that it is OK not to be OK all of the time. During this time of extraordinary stress that we are all facing, it’s darn near impossible to be OK. We are likely to feel anxious, tired, depressed, and unproductive, which by my math don’t add up to OK. The simple act of confessing to ourselves and to the people close to us that we are not OK in itself can relieve some of the stress. It’s not a cure all, but like the callback I made to my friend, it can make us a little more OK.