“It’s fine.” “Everything is fine.” “I’m fine.” Have you ever strung together these three sentences and thought to yourself, “shoot, I think I might not be fine”.
About a year ago I was in a car accident that resulted in emergency surgery, a stay in the trauma center at the hospital, and a long recovery (in addition to other challenges). It was the most challenging and scary time in my life. I didn’t think that I was going to make it, and yet I would find myself telling my loved ones who came to visit me, “It’s fine.” “Everything is fine.” “I’m fine.”
Why is it so hard to admit that sometimes we are not fine? It has taken me a while to figure out why I was so desperately pushing myself to be fine. Though I wanted those words to be true, what I wanted more than anything was for my loved ones to think and feel that those words were true.
Whether my words were saying it or not, I was scared. I wanted to hide this fear from my loved ones and “stay strong” for them. My inability to be authentic in this fear was hindering my ability to be connected to the people who I love more than anything. It felt like too much vulnerability to say that I was scared while I was facing physical vulnerability for the first time in my life.
When I had moments of honesty about my fear, I felt a deep connection and it actually allowed some peace to start seeping in. I was in desperate need of connection. Connection makes fear less lonely. I needed to feel less alone. I needed this peace. My family needed me to have this peace. We all need this peace. A peace that tells us that no matter what happens, there is something bigger that holds us.
Whether we believe that the “something bigger” is God, love, the universe, or something else, I know that that “something bigger” allows us to have peace. Even when peace feels impossible somehow there are moments of peace seeping in. In times of grief, pain, and fear there can still be deep connections and peace permeating into unlikely places.
I was “not fine,” but there was still peace.
~Bonnie Harris, LLMSW