January 3, 2020

When Morning Doesn't Come, I'll Stay With You In the Night

“Is that the best you can do?” 

I overhead this question at church a few Sundays ago when I was on my way to the coffee bar.

“Is that the best you can do?” was part of an exchange that went like this:

Man 1: “How are you?”
Man 2: “OK.”
Man 1: “OK? Is that the best you can do?”
Man 2: “Today it is, yes.”

Indeed, “OK” was the best he could do that day. 

It was better than he could do some days. 

It was an honest answer. 

But it did not play by the unwritten rules of social interaction, which maintain that “fine” or, preferably, “good” or, ideally, “great” are the expected responses to the standard question, “How are you?”

“Most people aren’t comfortable with a perceived problem (your feelings) until they feel like it’s close to being solved,” wrote Akilah S. Richards on Everyday Feminism.

Of course, we do not want to stay mired in despair. Of course, we don’t want to make a pit our permanent home. If we must be in a battle, we want to fight it and win. If we must be going through a struggle, we want to do just that: go through it and come out on the other side. 

But while we’re living in this messy world, there are some battles that don’t get won in ways that make anyone cheer.

There are diseases that don’t get healed.
There are broken relationships that don’t get repaired.
There are losses that never stop hurting.
There are wrongs that don’t get righted.

This is part of the reality of life, but it is not the part that makes for good Sunday-morning banter.

When we know someone in these realities, we may get used to their problem or tired of hearing about it. They’re doubtlessly tired of it, too, but they’re probably not used to it.

And so, to my friends who are living (maybe as permanent residents) in seasons where some days, “OK” is the best—or better than—you can do, I make this pledge . . . and hope with all my heart I keep it more than I break it.

When healing doesn’t come, I will stay with you in the sickness.

When joy doesn’t come, I will stay with you in the sorrow.

When provision doesn’t come, I will stay with you in the want.

When reconciliation doesn’t come, I will stay with you in the estrangement.

When answers don’t come, I will stay with you in the questioning.

When clarity doesn’t come, I will stay with you in the uncertainty.

And when morning doesn’t come, I will stay with you in the night, trusting that together in the darkness, we will fan hope's bright flame.

**A version of this piece first appeared on Her View From Home.**


  1. How beautifully stated Elizabeth! Thank you for this. <3

    1. Thank you so much, sweet friend! It seems one of the greatest gifts we can give each other is to reassure that our messes are not so messy as to scare one another off!

  2. I feel like I'm constantly writing that I have no time to comment and I wish I could write more, but I at least wanted to wave hello and let you know I loved this. I hope your new year is getting off to a wonderful start, my friend! <3

    1. Oh (and I'll say it again), Lisa, my Lisa! I was JUST thinking of you and wondering how you are! I echo every word you've so kindly taken time to leave here in the midst of all your busy (I can't even imagine!). Someday, we will again sit together and fill in all the blanks our crazy lives have left! Hugs and love, sweet friend!!


I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year-old that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!