Lately, it seems as though one great pastor is contradicting another great pastor, and they both are contradicting my Christian therapist who is being contradicted by the great Oswald Chambers who is just brutal sometimes, and brutally honest can be good but is he right? Then there’s the Bible, you know the actual word of God? Confusion abounds.
I’m confused. I’m so confused. And that makes me sad, even more it makes me angry. And that’s okay.
The world makes us believe that everything has to be great. When someone at McDonald’s asks you “How are you?” The knee-jerk response is, “Good, thanks” even if it happens to be the worst day of your life. Even at church, we respond with “Great” or “I’m good” Why? Why must we lie? Why is it more acceptable to lie instead of tell the truth? Even if the people from church genuinely want to hear the truth, in our own minds, we believe we must be okay. Well, it’s okay not to be okay.
So often lately, I feel like the biggest fraud every time I step out of my house. I understand the necessity of pasting on that smile and faking that bravado when I go to school and teach 50 freshmen, but why must I fake it when I go to church? I know my pastor and my friends at church would sincerely tell me I don’t have to, but I feel like I have to, Why?
Perhaps it’s because I’ve done it for so long that being a fraud has become normal. Perhaps it’s because I’m ashamed and embarrassed because really I’m dealing with the same ol’ shit I was dealing with last week, and last month, and last year, and who really wants to hear me talk about that again, and again, and again? And do I even want to admit that I’m still dealing with it? No. It’s easier . . . it’s safer . . . to put on that smile and say “I’m Good, thanks.” Even though it’s one of the most bold face lies I continue to tell.
But lately it’s getting harder. Because I’m not okay. I’m confused. And I’m so angry. I’m angry at God. I’m angry at his silence. I’m angry at the contradictory messages. I’m angry because I’m confused. I’m angry because I don’t know how to pray anymore. I’m angry because I don’t even know what hope is anymore. And I’m angry because the thing I suppose is hope continues to break my heart every day. I’m angry at the tears. I’m angry at the pain. I’m just angry. And, damn it, that’s okay. I know God is okay with my temper tantrums. I know he’s there even though I’m angry because I can’t sense him. I’m angry because I’m angry and I don’t want to be angry, but it’s easier to be angry than to hurt.
I wish I had some solution to my own rant. I wish I had some inspirational or witty quip to end with, but I don’t. The only thing I can say is it’s okay to not be okay. It damn well better be okay not to be okay because I’m not sure when I’ll be okay again. And so, I will continue to smile and say “I’m great, thanks, how are you?” And I will lie. Because even though it’s okay not be okay – it’s a lie I’ve been living for too long, I don’t know how to not be okay.