One Good Phrase: Micha Boyett (All will be well)

These are the days of holding the deep portions. The days where your husband walks the kids to the park and on the way his phone lights up with the worst kind of news. Tragedy. A friend’s life ended. And like that, he arrives at the playground, where his kids run and pour sand and swing so high they’re almost to Mars.

These are the days when the hard news comes fast and abrubt, in the grocery store parking lot. The friend from way back who has suffered long is now waiting for the end. You are not surprised but when the news breaks over your throat, you suck in deep. Then you do the same as you always do. You grab the empty grocery bags from the trunk, unbuckle your toddler, lift him to your hip. You wait for the older one to climb out and grab your hand. You warn of cars. You look both ways. The toddler doesn’t want the shopping cart seat. So you demand: We all will stand still until you make the right choice. Eventually, you shoot him up to the moon and count down till his bottom makes landing on the lunar surface. Three-two-one. We have contact. You say. And you circle the aisles resolving to absorb these last mornings of grocery shopping before your almost-five-year-old is in school all day long, no longer walking these aisles beside you, begging for sweets, telling gigantic tales of tiny dragons who fly in and out of grocery bags that are really dragon traps.

It is all too much, this living and dying.

These are the days where the portions are rich and deep and full of lives. And all the lives have different woven stories. Some are tales of grief, some of newfound joy, some of too much suffering. Some are being taken away. These lives.

These are the days when your husband across the room is playing Lincoln Logs with the boys and you say, “Maybe you should be alone. Maybe you should go to our room for awhile and read,” because you want him to grieve with space and where is the space on this Saturday where life is abounding around you and the children are sweet and wild and it is all too much? Too much goodness, too much wonder, too much sadness, too much power.

These are the Sundays when you sing, Through the love of God our Savior, all will be well.

And you look across the sea of worshipers among you: The family in love with their new baby boy, the family that has lost too much, grieved too much, the friend whose diagnosis is heavy, the beautiful swell of the music and the always losing.

So you mouth that phrase. All will be well. You make the words over and over and your spirit hears you. And God comes beside you and whispers it too. God’s hand on your head, like a mama smoothing a wayward hair, God holds that hand on your head and whispers that one good phrase. All will be well, All will be well speaks over and over your life and these lives and all the lives.

And when you sing the words, you groan them from that heavy pit of a place inside where the deep portions settle.

We expect a bright tomorrow; all will be well
Faith can sing through days of sorrow, all is well
On our Father’s love relying
Jesus every need supplying
Yes in living or in dying
All must be well

And what other sort of prayer is there anyway? But the prayer that hopes, that aches and notices the mercy, that hopes again.

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  • Katie Noah Gibson

    Oh, Micha. This is so lovely, and heartbreaking. I wish I could simply sit with you in your grief. Love to you.

  • HopefulLeigh

    Yes, yes, and amen. Letting this one sink down deep. I’m sorry to hear of these losses, friend. May God comfort you and those you love in tangible ways.

  • fiona lynne

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Micha.
    One of my own good phrases is similar: “every little thing is going to be alright”. It’s usually whispered into my husband’s soldier or my pillow. Sometimes I just need the reminder, when it’s hardest to remember anything.

  • pastordt

    Amen. You and Sarah are on the same wavelength today. I’m there, too, for some reason. And this phrase? A favorite since I first read Julian’s book, 20 years ago. Thank you, friend.

  • Amy Young

    These are the days. Amen. I had to keep reminding myself yesterday that crying in public is not culturally appropriate in China (where grief is suppressed). These are the days.

  • Felicity White

    This is a hymn I don’t know, but it reminds me of so many I sang while sitting on the smooth pews of my grandparents’ country church. I’m thankful for this kind of unflinching hope, especially in the dark days.

  • HeatherKopp_SoberBoots

    Love this. Thank you.

  • Kimberlee Conway Ireton

    Last week, we sang “It is well with my soul,” which is similar to the hymn you quote here (one I don’t know–or didn’t, till now). Singing it with my church family around me was…amazing. I love these old hymns; they don’t cover over the sorrow and the sadness, but they don’t let us wallow in it, either. They honor our grief while gently reminding us that all shall be well. Thank you for echoing and extending their words in this beautiful post, Micha. Your last line is especially poignant and lovely.

  • michaboyett

    Yes, I saw that our radio waves were crossing today…Even that same phrase: too much. As much as I love to quote Julian of Norwich, I’ve never actually read her work. I should put that on my to-read list. Always grateful for your thoughts, D.

  • michaboyett

    Thank you, Fiona. It’s all so sad sometimes. I keep thinking how grateful I am that I really (most of the time!) believe that the sad things will come untrue. That there is something better and it’s already on its way…

  • michaboyett

    Thanks so much, my dear. (Hope you’re adjusting to life stateside. Looking forward to hearing more about your trip.)

  • michaboyett

    Katie, thanks. Grateful for you.

  • Joy Lenton

    Micha, you bring such beauty out of pain, such fullness out of loss, such simplicity of clinging to the soothing refrain, “All will be well” out of deep sadness and sorrow. I am so sorry for your loss. Those words and that hymn have helped many to grieve with hope stuck on as a badge of honour for all wounded ones. Praying for you to be at peace and feel God’s loving embrace holding you all at this time.

  • Karen

    Beautiful, beautiful words. Thank you

  • Annie Barnett

    You captured so much of the ache here, Micha. Walking through grief with little ones who bring so much joy can feel like such a strange mix of emotions, but I think it can be healing and centering too. Praying comfort for you and those you love who are walking through loss this week.