When I was a freshman in high school, I started collecting quotes. I think it began when I read Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, which had a quote at the beginning of each chapter/story. After coming across several wonderful quotes in a row, I decided to make a little book full of them so that I could remember all of my favorites.
When I was trying to figure out what to write today, two of them came to mind.
“The human spirit is stronger than anything that happens to it.”
was the first quote I thought of, because I have this whole stubborn will going to just wants to put my head down and push through the hard stuff that’s been engulfing my life. And I think there’s a lot of truth to the quote, even if it’s preferable to point out the way God sustains us through all of the crap that happens to us.
The second quote I thought of was the opposite of that.
“It is such a secret place the land of tears,”
says Antoine de Saint-Exubery. I’ve spent a significant chunk in the land of tears lately, so this quote seemed appropriate. I had a conversation earlier in which a friend and accountability partner asked me what she should pray for in my life. I answered something about sorrowing well. I basically summed up the ways in which my theology still places God in control and believes in all that He is… but I’m still sad.
Then I thought of the movie The Thomas Crown Affair. There’s this great part in it when one of the cops is talking to the other one about how we sort of tell people we’re okay when really we aren’t – something about how he “was okay” when he and his wife got divorced. He totaled his car, spent a bunch of money, got drunk, went to jail, and got beaten up (I don’t actually remember his story, but it’s something like that), but he “was okay.” People’ve been asking me if I’m okay about this family health problem or that personal/ministry thing that went awry. And I don’t know how to answer them. Am I going to get drunk and go to jail? Nope. But am I okay? Emotionally? Spiritually? Physically? I don’t actually know what they’re asking, but I always say yes. Because in all my life, I don’t think I can point to a time when I would now look back and say that I wasn’t okay.
And I think there’s wisdom in knowing that. In knowing that in hindsight, I’ve always been okay.