I’m not alright


and visions of sugarplums danced in my head

Are the kids alright? Is a frequent question that permeates educational circles. Adults in administration and teachers will say, “but how are the children? We’ve talked test scores, population changes, and building renovations, let’s get to the heart. If a school loses sight of the kids who come everyday a slow sickness can take over where the teachers are tired and the children drag their feet and backpacks down the hall. Or it could be a little too close to Thanksgiving break. When I was student teaching I got so stressed and worn-out before Thanksgiving break I almost puked in the recycling bin (thank goodness for an early release time). A Teacher friend of mine said she tried to wash her face with conditioner. Breaks, like barbecues, are necessary. (Thank you Shauna Neiquist).


As I type my father-in-law is grilling steaks and it’s smells like a football win feels. The sweet medicine of well cooked meat. Or quinoa. Quinoa is good.

Taken at Moonlight Beach. Try to not be jealous of that seagull.

I visited my in-laws home church where my father-in-law and brother-in-law (so many hyphens when you get married) serve. The teaching  pastor talked about filling in the blank “I’m not_____ but God is_____”  and I realized I would say “I’m not alright.”

What. A. Relief.

A misguided question that’s been running around my brain has been:

What would I tell people, if given a large platform?

and the unfortunate, wholly inaccurate answer has been:

“I’m alright.”

Some of my blogposts have operated under this assumption. Well, it’s not true.  In my furious desire to prove that I’m coming out of the dark tunnel intact has proven to be completely bogus.

I’m not alright, but God has proven sufficient. Present. There.

God has rescued me both from valleys I’ve chosen and ones life has chosen against my will. And when I’m in the valley all I can see is the dirt underneath my feet. Oftentimes it turns to mud because of my tears.

It’s like when you work so hard to make Thanksgiving perfect and the dog sneaks in while you’re taking the family picture and eats half a chocolate pie. True story. Dog was ok, but the chocolate pie made an encore performance later that night all over the bed spread. Was it a storybook ending to a Holiday? Nope! More like the climax of a sitcom.

But it made me laugh, and it made me think about all the hilarious situations we find ourselves in when we bring family, pets, and a ginormous amount of food all in one house. And amidst all the craziness, to sit and chat about your favorite movies or the passions you have. My favorite moments came this holiday when I was talking with someone and our differences in age, class, education, and location were temporarily put to the side and we could simply say

“I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t alright, I’m still not alright”

And then, in between the cousins gathering slushy snow, and the dog catching the ball, and the winding drive back to the land of the sun…and the waiter whose only been here for three months and has only been sober for 2.

God said  “I am.”

He said, I’ll take your soap opera your sitcom your SNL skit, your life that’s incomplete, and I’ll show you what I can do.

He said it Moses, and he says it again and again. Talk to someone who has faithfully walked with God for many years and see if the burning bush, the moment when we are asked to be brave and trust, was a miraculous act leading to many valleys and mountains, or if they ignored the small but grand gestures of a God who cares. (Exodus three if you dare).

Don’t settle for saying “I’ll be fine.”



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