Online browsing has its place, but nothing compares to the joy of finding a thing that you never knew you needed in a plant shop in a small Ohio downtown. When I told my husband I wanted the sign in this picture for Christmas. I’m pretty sure he thought I was joking. Yes, this sign is unusual, perhaps even appropriative. I did question myself upon hanging it. I welcome correction if that’s true. I know that word art is basic and passé and all of that, but when one loves words and one loves music, what is one to do, I ask you?
As a small insight into the functioning of the Slagell household, we have musically themed days. Drop off and pick up is a hell-scape, and nothing can redeem it save music. Thus Taylor Swift Tuesdays, Brutal Wednesdays, Time-hop Thursdays, and Fridays, I’m in Love were born. The youngest’s Friday playlist was the worst week of our whole fall (who knew music could be so bad?), and the 1970’s Time-Hop was unanimously agreed upon as the best. To kick off the whole week: Motivational Mondays, a combo of inspirational titles, empowerment anthems, and jock jams. Nothing says motivation like All I Do is Win followed by Roar with a chaser of Wind Beneath my Wings.
The song that anchored us and played first every single Monday of the past four months?
Good Day by Nappy Roots.
See, it was more for us than just a motivational song on a random Monday. It was a vow of sorts. This year brought our family more pain than we could ever anticipate. Most of it was dealt with individually, yet when more than one family member has their own junk to work through, even if the rest of the family doesn’t have direct involvement or understanding, there’s a collective camaraderie.
Spoiler alert: it wasn’t always a good day. The Slagells racked up far more bad days than good this fall. For those of you who know our foster care and adoption journey or any of our church and work and life-change background, you know we’re no strangers to stress. Chronic trauma fallout takes a toll, but the acute nature of what we experienced this year was the most of our lifetime. I’m not purposefully being coy, but I do need to protect our children and family. Suffice it to say, we had very bad days.
The five of us got in that car on Mondays with the same determination every week.
It’s gonna be a good day.
We get to choose. There is no rule saying that we have to live in the desperation that our lives hold. I fail at this more regularly than I’d prefer, and these past three weeks attest to that fact. I’ve not behaved well. I’ve not lived with intention. I’ve wanted to shut myself up in my room in a petulant fit of despair every single day. I’ve treated my family terribly. I’ve not done my work to behave as a functioning, kind member of society, particularly this small society we’ve built inside these walls. I have a million reasons why it’s all been so difficult and overwhelming, but none of them is an excuse. All of it has led to apology upon apology. The simple fact remains that I get to choose whether I live in despair or live in hope.
Please don’t mistake this for some sort of manifestation mumbo-jumbo. There is no “2022 is MY year” or “God’s never let me down yet” bullshit here. I know that word is strong, and I use it with intention. Sometimes it’s not your year. Sometimes you can’t just declare or manifest yourself into positive situations. Sometimes God lets you down. (I have several bible stories to refer you to should you doubt this sentiment is scriptural, but that’s a sermon for another day.) Sometimes very bad things happen, and they will always be true, no matter how much we wish they weren’t.
My regular friend* messaged me just last week, saying “Hope and denial may seem very similar but they are not…I continue to pray we are trying to live in hope while avoiding denial.” To me, this song is precisely that sentiment. It’s the “Not Today, Satan” of the musical world, if you will. These lyrics do not deny a daily reality where violence and death are all too real, but their hope remains: Today is not that day.
That’s all I’m saying for my life right now, and the central room of our house now declares it.
Today is not that day.
We’re looking fly today. (Please don’t fact-check this as I regularly drop off the children in a hoodie with no bra and Uggs. Looking fly is an attitude of the heart.)
We’re going to get by today. Some days that’s all there is. We get by.
We’re not dying today. We’ve lived through all our hardest days so far, and this one is no different.
We’re not succumbing to despair today. We will feel our feelings, and it will probably not be pretty. We will not hide our emotions, but they are not the boss of us. All of it is information, and we will use that info to heal, not to tear down.
We’re not giving up hope today. Denial is to give up on the truth. We acknowledge and work with the truth, and that often looks way uglier than the pretense of having it all together. But in that hot mess, there’s grace. There’s joy. There’s hope that defies the reality. Hope that’s working towards a whole and healed future. Hope that good lasts, and love wins.
It’s gonna be a good day.
*please refer to my previous post as a reference