How are you doing? Are you okay? Do you need anything?
Or sometimes, it more of a statement: You’re okay. I knew you would be. It’s just who you are.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I’m not sure how accurate it is.
Being “okay” is an odd thing to measure. I think some people see others as being okay because they need for them to be. It’s hard to watch people close to you hurt and struggle, but if they’re okay – however that’s defined – we can all breathe just a little bit better.
I’ve talked with a lot of people through the years who are struggling with some serious stuff, and I’ve tried to gauge if they’re okay by our conversations and some of their actions. It’s easier to gauge some situations and people than others. But here’s what I know.
Getting out of bed is an act of being okay some days, and actually engaging in life is a bonus, but it doesn’t make everything okay. It doesn’t mean there’s no struggle. There are days when I’d say I’m okay that, at least in my mind, is followed by…because I’m fighting to be okay.
It’s an effort, a choice of healing, and an act of humility. It’s an honesty of what’s okay and what’s not and what’s the next best healthy choice. It’s a step into engaging with life even when that might mean taking a difficult breath or fighting to focus on a new normal or interacting with people when it’s easier to hide. It can also be hiding for a short season because there’s overwhelming but soothing vulnerability in the quiet solitude.
No two journeys are identical. We can’t assume we know a lot about another person’s struggles, but just recognizing there is a struggle is often helpful.
Pay attention. You don’t have to fix everything. You can’t. But you can notice people. You can be compassionate. You can be present.
Even when you’re not okay. Even when someone beside you isn’t either.