The Monday after (in)RL, I decided to give Lisa-Jo’s “unfine” a try. I decided, when I went to work on Monday, that I would not say I was “fine” if I wasn’t. And lately, work has been way less than fine. We’ve been in a season of crazy expectations, unrealistic deadlines, limited resources, and overworked associates. No. We have not been fine.
Normally, I pass my coworkers in the stairwell, and we do the Hi-how-are-you?-Just-fine-thanks-and-you? thing. Or we gather together in the cafeteria at the beginning of the day where we catch up on the latest news headlines, find out who watched what on television the night before, and share little bits of our lives. We skim across the surface of our families and of our hopes and dreams. We don’t go deep, and I’m not really sure just how real we get.
So on Monday morning, when my colleague asked me how I was, I took a deep breath and said, “Oh, you know. Crazy day ahead.” Those two sentences were like the key that opened up her heart. She shared with me the struggles of her workload, and then some of her frustrations with her family, and some of her deepest hurts. It was amazing. And beautiful. Right there in the cafeteria of a major corporation, with microwaves beeping and the Today Show talking to us from the television on the wall.
How in the world could I have know that one “unfine” could open up so much? But that’s just the point, isn’t it? Community is built on the gritty, messy, imperfect bedrock of all the places we are not okay. It’s when I push through pretense and take the risk of letting you see my dirty dishes in the sink, or rub my feet when I’m sick, or help me sort through the muck of a family falling apart.
We are not supposed to do this alone. As much as I want to guard my heart and my reputation and your impression of me, God has designed it so that community works best when I am real with you. Community works best when we are real, and sometimes unfine is the most direct route.