Even When We Are Not Well
The past eight months have been an awkward time to feel blessed. At this point, we all know the dance. Out of a kind habit we ask co-workers, our Zoom trivia team, our closest family, “How are you?” only to watch the words evaporate in front of us, knowing that the answer will be obstinate.
“As good as I can be, considering the circumstances!”
“Oh, you know…”
“People have it worse than I do so I truly can’t complain.”
“Just hanging in there!”
And yet, there is a small ache when we say this. The truth of the matter is, every person in the world right now is mourning the loss of something. Yes, it is true, mourning a parent or a job is much different than mourning the ability to go trick-or-treating without a six-foot plastic tube shooting down candy to families who are trying to make it work, but there is no argument that we have all had loss this year, and there is barely end in sight.
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us that we can still be imperfect, mourning, struggling, bullied, and still be blessed. You do not need to be happy, thankful, gracious, fine, or, “Great, thanks!” to receive His blessing. All we need to be is ourselves, as we are loved just as that, and always have been.
As women, shifting to this mindset is like moving a mountain while just trying to change out of your pajamas (I really don’t think we technically need to change out of our pajamas if we aren’t going anywhere, but that’s a reflection for another time). Collectively, we are trained to carry the brunt of things – of family, of work, of emotions – but yet still be cheery enough for your first interaction with human beings in the morning. Jesus is giving us permission to wiggle away from those standards when we need to, and the break from the pressure can truly be divine.
Mountains aren’t moved in a day – and I am writing this in my pajamas and it is almost noon so there’s that – but next time you are angry, sad, frustrated or just blah, I challenge you to step back for five seconds, take a deep breath, and remember that you have Jesus’s blessing in that very moment. I refuse to describe your moment as “imperfect”, as the shadow of imperfection haunts us all. Instead, that moment is sacred.
Jesus is also telling us to be unapologetically good when we feel like it as well. Women kick ass at being merciful and kind, so if we can absolutely do that too and be blessed as palm fronds on the Sunday before Easter. To celebrate, rejoice, and be glad isn’t necessarily the theme of 2020 but when we find moments of levity in friends, family, the Real Housewives, and French fries, let’s just do it. Because we are blessed. Even when we are not well.