When your father dies, sometimes you wonder if you’ll ever feel okay again. But then you wonder if you can point to a time when you ever really felt okay, and you can’t, so trying to return to a state that never existed seems like a lot of unnecessary pressure. But something’s still clearly more wrong than it was before. Sometimes you have to fight the urge to crawl into the ivy that grows thick and wild around your apartment. Sometimes you have to remind yourself to breathe, to stop holding the air in like you’re afraid, if you let it go, it won’t come back. Sometimes you remember a moment from years before—in the wake of being left by a man you’d loved—heading out of Big Sur in the morning fog. The clouds broke and bathed your car in such perfect light, you didn’t dare try to capture it on film. For that split second, you felt noticed, and you realized when Jesus said, “I am with you always,” this is what He meant: the world alive and listening—the closest it could come to grace—and you there in the midst of it, stumbling back to your version of okay.
Jessica Lynne Henkle runs, works, and prays in Portland, Oregon, where she’s always writing something. You can visit her digitally at jessicalynnehenkle.com.