A few months ago, I saw an advertisement for a workshop that promised to help attendees live their dreams and discover their purpose.
I hadn’t ever attended anything like this before, but for some reason I felt like I needed to be there.
So, I surprised myself (and most of my friends) by choosing to spend the Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend at a six hour workshop with a room full of strangers.
It wasn’t long into the workshop when the leader said to us: “You are all here for a reason. Something brought you here tonight. You are searching for something or you wouldn’t be here.”
Then, he asked us to write down what was on our hearts that night; what had led us to be in that room? So, I opened up my journal and with tears streaming down my face, one simple question seemed to literally fly out of my pen.
I didn’t expect to write these words.
In fact, if you had asked me why I signed up for this workshop just five minutes earlier, I wouldn’t have given that answer. But, that was it. That was why I was there. I was searching for an answer to this question. Every fear, every mental block, each anxious thought that I battled was rooted in the question—will it all be okay? I was desperate to know the answer.
Would I have a happy life?
Would I be ok if I never married or had children? Would I be ok if I did?
Would my life make a difference?
Would I choose the right path?
Who doesn’t struggle with this question at some point in their life? When our hearts break, when our plans don’t go as expected, when life deals us a painful blow, how do we not wonder will it all be ok?
When my father passed away five years ago, I remember looking at my mom and being terrified that things would never be okay again.
42 years of love and devotion to one man. 42 years of coming home to the same face and lying in bed next to the man she loved. How in the world would it all be okay?
And, you know, it wasn’t ok for a while. It was hard. It was lonely. It was completely unfamiliar and foreign and, dammit, it was not what she—or any of us—had planned for her life.
But, among the painful moments, there were also friends who called just to listen. There were casseroles baked and delivered with love. There were grief support meetings with beautiful, kind souls who were brave enough to come together to share in their suffering and pain.
And, these glimpses of love are what kept my mom moving forward, eventually, to a place where she was able to feel a deep knowing that it would all be okay. It would never be the same but, yes, it would be okay.
I’m not sure there is a way to escape the desire to know that it will all be okay. And, it’s okay not to know sometimes. Life offers few, if any, guarantees. It’s a ride full of risk, disappointment, joy and suffering.
But, there is one guarantee I feel safe in knowing. Love is always present.
On that Saturday night, sitting in a room full of strangers, my heart was whispering to me that everything would be okay. There was a profound sense of love and connection in the room. Sure, we were strangers, but we were also family.
We were all part of the same anxious, worried, tribe that just wanted to know that it would all be ok.
Perhaps that’s the only antidote to this plaguing question—understanding that we are all in it together.
We can’t protect ourselves or others from pain or suffering, but we can help answer the question: will it all be okay? When we take time to listen, when we reach out to let someone know we are thinking of them…when we show love to ourselves and others.
And, maybe, just maybe, simply admitting that we are all worried as hell that it will all turn out ok helps it all feel a little more okay.
At least, I hope so.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Amanda McPherson
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: JD Hancock/Flilckr