Despite what the calendar says, today is not a “good” Friday.
Instead of trying to fire you up and encourage you this week (which I actually enjoy), I’m going to give us a heaping portion of the really reals.
If I have to hear another Pollyanna person/preacher telling me good stuff is just around the corner, I will lose my freaking mind. We don’t know that. We don’t know how long the coronavirus is going to be affecting our lives. We don’t know when employees in the service industry can get back to work; we don’t know when sports will kick back into gear; we don’t know when we can stop worrying about our toilet paper supply.
I want to overland in Arizona. I want to go to a movie and have a beer. I want to never have another freaking Zoom call the rest of my life. This shut down, this change of pace, was novel for about a week. At this point, I’m done with it. And I haven’t lost my income. And I don’t have kids running around my house. And I don’t have to report to work at a medical facility or grocery store. A lot of people have it worse than I do.
Life right now is not okay. And I want you to know, it’s okay for it not to be okay.
Whatever you believe about Jesus, we celebrate Easter because of him. The day we now call Good Friday, 2,000 years ago, was nowhere near good. Jesus was dragged before a kangaroo court and unjustly killed in the most grueling way possible. His followers? After spending every day with him for three years, they abandoned him to face the toughest day of his life alone. Driven by fear, they huddled together and locked the doors.
Good Friday only became “good” in hindsight.
Walking through it in real time was grueling. It felt like death. If that’s how life feels to you right now, you’re in good company.
As a nation, we’re grieving—the loss of our comfort; the loss of our everyday rhythms; the loss of Easter traditions; the loss of jobs; the loss of a thriving economy; for some of us, even the loss of life.
Grief comes in waves. And it generally moves through five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
If anyone tells you that you shouldn’t be frustrated; that you shouldn’t be sad; that you shouldn’t be experiencing one of those stages of grief, they are pointing you in the wrong direction. Everyone who has experienced a life worth living has scars, has experienced dark nights, has found something deeper than the shallow waters of our happy-clappy culture.
A life of depth is built from diving. There may be no deeper place for us right now than to choose to feel and experience our grief. We’re not well acquainted with that in America. Sure, we feel it when a loved one dies or a relationship ends, but our lives are generally easy compared to the rest of the world and the rest of history. There are a million ways to distract yourself from your grief. Today, I’m asking you not to do that. Turn off Netflix. Don’t crack open that beer. Don’t bury yourself in housework or at-home school days. Today, you have permission not to be okay.
As you experience that pain, ask yourself: why am I feeling this?
The answer to this question can be what pushes you to the next level in your life. Am I grieving because my joy was caught up in the success of my business? Am I feeling pain because it’s become obvious my family relationships are in tatters? Was I living under a false belief that I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to do it?
If you feel your grief, and plumb its depths by asking hard questions, you’ll know the next move you need to make in your life.
It is Friday but Sunday is coming. Today may not feel “good” but Easter is just around the corner… crap! I just did it. I tried to cheer you up. Today, it’s okay not to be okay.
Every oher Friday, thousands of people get unfiltered encouragement and challenge from me delivered to their inboxes. I sent this out to my email list and I wanted to share it with all of you. If you enjoy it, subscribe for more on this page or at briantome.com. To quote the great John McClane… “Welcome to the party, pal.”