“Okay,” according to some etymologists, was an acronym for “oll korrect” (which is slang for “all correct”). Coming from a dysfunctional family has taught me many valuable lessons. But this lesson was one of my dad’s last parting gifts. He would always comfort me with the words, “It’s going to be okay.” I believed he had some ability to know that his statement would come true, but now that he’s gone, I realize exactly what he was trying to teach me.
My dad never pampered or coddled us. He never taught us to believe in fairy tales or miracles. Some people may view this as a disservice. I view it as a gift. My father had his shares of loss, pain and heartache. His experiences in life would never allow him to promise his children bliss. He never said, “It’s going to turn out perfect,” or “magnificent” or “brilliant.” Just “okay.”
So what does “okay” mean to me? “Okay” in no way involves perfection. My life has never been perfect and never will be. If you are alive, you’re guaranteed a few things: you will experience loss, feel grief, have regrets and suffer heartbreak. But you can also look forward to moments of happiness, joy, gratitude and contentment. In life, there are no revisions. If you are fortunate, the amazing moments will outweigh the mistakes, errors and blunders.
Coming from a mild climate in California has always allowed me to be a weather wimp. I dread one season in North Carolina: I hate the stiff Arctic breeze that starts in December and subsides in March. Every fall, I know what’s around the corner: the cold, the darkness, the slumber of winter. But somehow, when we survive this frigid and harsh season, spring is always that much more enjoyable. The sun warms your bones, life is revived, all is correct.
My dad seemed to understand that life can be cold and harsh, the wind unrelenting. He also seemed to know that if you could survive the frigid dark days, then the bright and sunny were sure to follow. So when I am at my lowest, I hear the words my dad uttered so many times: “It’s going to be okay.” These five words give me strength. They give me the courage to proceed, without high expectations but with a realistic view of the future. Life is far from flawless, but no matter what comes my way: It will be okay!