A few weeks ago I went into Barnes & Noble to purchase a book I’ve been wanting. Not finding it, I walked up to an employee and asked, “Do you have the book “Have a Beautiful, Terrible Day!” by Kate Bowler?” He raised his eyebrows at me, probably wondering if a title like that is even a book! He
looked it up on the computer, and took me to it. I was excited to pick it up. Kate Bowler is one of my favorite theologians, writers, and soul persons. She writes about the hard stuff that none of us want to talk about. She uses words to describe our feelings in powerful ways—ways I’ve never found from many
other authors. She always hits me deep in my soul. So her book “Have a Beautiful, Terrible Day” acknowledges the ups, downs, and everything in-between. It acknowledges that yes, sometimes our life is wonderful and our day is absolutely terrific, and sometimes, it’s absolutely horrible and getting out of bed in the morning feels like an accomplishment that deserves a medal. Our culture is one that thrives on toxic positivity. Yes, trying to be happy when you’re really not takes a toll on your mental health. Kate tries to provide an alternative to toxic positivity in her books. She’s trying to “find better language than forced positivity to express our hopes and our anxieties.”

So here’s a blessing when you are overwhelmed and stressed.

No matter how much planning,
Anticipating, making lists,
there are always daily fires.
When is the appointment?
There’s been a delay at the Pharmacy,
The pickup line, the checkout counter.
Who needs to pick up groceries again?
Pack, bathe, rummage, drive, launder, call. (cont’d.)
Somewhere at the center of me
is this love that whirs.
It ticks like an atomic clock.
I will love them all hours and my days.
Every calendar page can be told as a story,
Thousands of dates and times,
That I love them, show up for them,
Care for them.
But Lord, somewhere at the center of me
Is an alarm bell, ringing.
This rare and precious life you give,
All my hours and my days,
Are being carefully placed into boxes
And packed away by this schedule,
These errands,
These acts of good, good service.
No matter how much forethought,
Working ahead, “life hacking,”
I will never finish it all.
So give me a fresh sense of urgency.
When is the sunrise?
Read me a poem.
Who here has an amazingly
Embarrassing story?
There will need to be a delay
At the pharmacy, the pickup line,
And the checkout counter.
You are giving me back this day.

(Kate Bowler, “Have a Beautiful, Terrible Day,” Page 133)

Peace, Pastor Kristina