Posts Tagged ‘how to be okay’

P1030619When I was little, I found a safe place high up in a tree near my house.

The first time I climb that tree I saw that above me, higher up and near the top, were grape vines tangled in the branches. I climbed higher, and I saw that the vines formed a kind of roof over me, and so I poked my hands and then head through the leaves and netted vines,  and there found a kind of vine nest, a skyfort — hidden in an upper world.


I climbed up, and into it, and I laid back, and I floated on my back far off the ground, and I put my hands behind my head, and I looked up at the blue sky, and no one walking by knew I was there lounging above.

That place has stayed with me. Last year, I had the chance to go  back to where I grew up. The skyfort isn’t there any more, but my need for it remains. I still find myself ferreting out somewhere where I might be alone and feel safe for a moment and watch the world pass by below. I need such a place. We all do and if we don’t find it, we go crazy looking for it.

My office, at my work, is a bit of this  kind or place for me, where I meet with people and help them. My bedroom, at home, is such a place for me, where I write and play my guitar and talk to my wife. These places are good, but they are not enough, nor will they ever be.

I spoke to someone recently who isn’t okay —  no skyfort, no place up above it all, where they can go and feel okay. This person has a home, but there is still no place to get away from what he has done and especially what he has not done and fundamentally and intrinsically from the rejection of himself by himself.

“Hold me,” my daughter said to me recently, and so I held her, my own flesh and blood, close, safe, in the arms that have no harm in them but only want to protect and comfort and rescue. And then she let down and rested.  She was safe there, leaning back into her nest of  not-aloneness that exists within the not-aloneness of my care, where she can lounge and  watch the world go by and be okay.

We’re all looking for that kind of okay, but most of us don’t find enough of it. I know I don’t. My daughter either.

Life for all of us is less that we hope for in our moments of hoping and dreaming and imagining what might yet be there somewhere above us.

Needy, we tend to climb life, unrested, looking for a vine-net of affirmation, but usually all we get is a bunch of criticism, a pack of rules and a parcel of lies. They tend to shove us  back, away from each other, and toward the ground. We experience the “not good enough” in the very places we hoped for “your all I ever hoped for.” Even in the places we expected to find the web of understanding, places like marriage, home, church and school, we meet the cool eyes of distancing disapproval.  And then in anger and stubbornness we retreat and sniff out alternate places, dangerous and harmful places of escape and avoidance and brain numbing stultification. Yet these places are not nearly strong enough to hold off the harsh judgments of our peers and of ourselves.

There seems to be no place, to make us okay, because in no place do we find unconditional acceptance.

Except one.

Where is that?

It is in God.

God only, Christ only, accepts the unacceptable heart when it comes to him broken and unacceptable and self-rejected and allows itself to be forgiven, lifted up and held close. There is no other place to go to be okay. No human arms, no social success, no known substance, no  wealth, no hidden tree fort, nothing on the planet or in the universe that can erase the loneliness incumbent in our own failure to love and be loved. This only happens  in God.


One place.

God is the one place in which we unacceptable persons may  begin to be acceptable again. He is a safe place in which  a new okayness can be found,  from which we can begin to recover and look out and gather strength and live and love ourselves and others once again.


He is a skyfort.

Drive from work to the gym.

Eight stop lights. Ten thoughts about work. Think about six people. One thought about wife. Bad ratio.

Run on the elliptical. Lift weights. One thousand five-hundred and fifty-one different movements.

Wash hands. Diseases on my mind. New gym; probably crawling with bacteria.

Stop and talk to the gym owner. He is going through third divorce. Sucks, for him. I live in a Brueghel — sweaty, pulsing, messy, high-density.

Drive home. One near miss. Eleven traffic lights. One incident. No hand gestures. Eleven emotions during whole drive.

Accelerate hard with the turbo-charged engine twice. Rocket forward. Smile twice. One phone call on car phone to wife. She’s in traffic. Our cars talk, then we talk.

Pull in garage. Car off. Break on. One car door. One backpack. One phone. One garage door button.

Greet my daughter and both cats. Stash backpack.

Make dinner. A hundred and seventy-two different steps.

Feed the cats in the middle of the process. Six motions.

Answer two texts. One from work.

Eat exhausted, with daughter, wondering if the homemade spaghetti is worth it. One hundred ten motions not counting chewing.

It wasn’t, worth it. Daughter didn’t like it, but it was good the next day as leftovers.

Do the dishes. Fifty four disparate movements.

Help my daughter change a setting her iPad. Stress! I didn’t want to.

Think about a bill I need to pay online. Decide to pay it in the morning.

Think about work. Eight thoughts in a row. Three were repeats.

Wife arrives home. Hug. Get her food. She likes the spaghetti. Ask about her day. Answer a text. Try to stop thinking about work.

Get a work related call. Ignore it.

Sit on the couch — exhausted. Turn on TV.

Run through the DVR list while scanning the news on my iPhone while answering a text.

Watch one show.

Go to my room. Think about life as a crush of details and problems. It’s clutter.


Read my Bible.



Got it!

Life is simple.

There is the clutter, laden with detail, fraught with emotion, cargoed with movement, and then there is one simple thing.

I have only one thing to do.

I have just one choice to make.

One thought.

One movement.

One goal.


Simply love. Love them; love it.


I go to sleep.

I’m okay.