Welcome to the 435th day of March 2020.
I wear a mask whenever I’m out and about these days. It’s not enjoyable. But apparently I’ve been brainwashed by a vast governmental and medical establishment conspiracy, so I comply.
A little dark humor. But for realsies, everyone needs to step off the gas and engage with something other than wild theories. And if you see me at the store, you can choose to look me in the eye and call me a name and talk at me for wearing a mask, but why waste your time? I’m just here to buy some Oreos, not to receive a lecture and finger-pointing. It’s okay.
Kate says: smile.
Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your pain and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through, for you
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile
– John Turner & Geoffrey Parsons (music by Charlie Chaplin)
I loathe this song.
Today, I feel sad. What do I feel sad about? Everything and nothing.
Is it because of fluctuating and ever-mysterious female hormones? Maybe. It is because my serotonin or some other brain chemical is low (or high)? Probably. Is it because I haven’t slept well the last couple of weeks? Sure. Is it because, in the words of John Lennon, “I read the news today, oh boy”? Most assuredly.
Or maybe it just is.
I do believe in practicing gratitude, in looking for the joy and the good in each day. I can honestly say that I’m grateful for the soft blanket covering my feet (they’re always cold) and the coffee sitting on the side table next to me. I’m grateful for my truly neurotic puppies who eat socks. I’m grateful for the plants scattered around my living room, purifying the air and bringing the outdoors in.
But smile when you want to cry? No.
Take it from the Queen of Bottling Emotions, no good comes from engaging in toxic positivity, the kind of fake, shallow, “nothing can ever be wrong because Jesus loves me” sort of thing. If you’re living in an imprecatory psalm moment, live in it. Pour all of the anger and confusion and sorrow out before God, because God already knows you’re feeling and thinking it.
And God smiles that beautiful, patient, loving, heavenly smile, the one that’s made of compassion and goodness, and holds out God’s arms. There, wrapped in the safety of holy grace, you sigh deeply, all of the stress exiting your body in one ragged breath. But you don’t smile. Instead, you are still. Even the atoms of your body seem to stop vibrating. And you know there is a contentedness, a happiness, that transcends the smile, and coexists with the sadness.
That is enough.
More than enough.