I left a version on this as a comment on a friend’s blog and thought that I would expound on it here.

It’s fine to not be fine. So often we ask how one another is doing, and we expect the answer fine. Those asked the question feel the to answer fine. That’s fine for both parties. Societal obligation to politeness are met. The asker wants to know no more than fine. The asked only feel like sharing fine. Anything better than fine sounds too showy. Anything worse than fine requires being vulnerable. We’re a fine society. Fine is all we can handle.

But my friend was not fine. And she posted her not-fineness. And was fine in not being fine. And it was fine that she was not fine (though she was fine that she wasn’t fine–which was fine– and as her friend, I was fine that she was not fine. Not that I didn’t care about her not being fine, but because there was no condition on friendship that says you have to be fine at all times in order to be my friend. To the best of my knowledge, that’s the way that friendship works).

Being real means sometimes we’re not fine. Of course, being real may mean that those unable to handle another’s realness may be uncomfortable to the point of silence or absence. Authenticity is one of those buzzwords that people like to toss around, though I don’t always know if they are prepared to handle that being authentic may mean having to live through another’s not-fineness. Being not fine is messy. Messy situations, messy feelings, messy ways of muddling through them.

The solutions to our not-fineness isn’t in senseless distraction, television watching marathons, ice cream binges, sleeping, or a bottle; though admittedly, there is some measure of comfort to be found in all of those activities. However, the best long term and healthy solution lies in being in community with one another, bearing one another’s burdens, and being not-fine with each other. (I mean, we’re fine with each other, but if we’re not-fine, at least we’re not fine with one another).

Putting this into practice was how we wrapped up our Christmas day. You see, one of my family’s Christmas tradition (one I started when I was single) is to open up our home to whoever needs someplace to hang out on Christmas. Let’s face it, for all the talk of love and family, the holidays can be tough. Even if they weren’t tough, sometimes forced time with the family can be. So we provide the escape from spending the day with family and try to create someplace to just relax for our friends. Some friends still healing from divorce. Some friends finding out they are getting divorced. Some friends healing from the loss of their child. Some friends dealing with their all-to-present children. Some friends who are fine. Some friends who are not fine.

Being fine and not fine together.

[Also, sometimes it may take the mild consumption of alcohol to make sense of my posts. It certainly makes me funnier.]

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