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“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

Well. I thought of this quote, which I read in my book today, and wondered what it means. Is it platitude, something to make us stop whining or questioning or worrying just like when moms say, “Because I said so”? Or is it a theological promise, diffused into the comforting, homey language of a soothing grandma? If it is theological, shouldn’t it say “All shall be good,” or “All shall be glorious,” or “One day every knee shall bow”? Because in the end, all things are so much better than well. They are delightful, the work of God, who created all good things and is the giver of every good gift. If the promise is more immediate, I think it must be untrue, because there is no guarantee, even at the end of one’s long life, that all things shall be well.

But what wonderful, deep, stable, pleasant a word is “well.” It is like the assured love of a couple married for decades, not fighting, sitting together, commenting when one thinks of something to say. But that is not dispassionate. And things being well, that is something dear and treasureable, beautiful, and simple. A recurring theme in obscure quotes and literature I’ve met is simplicity. Some people just dream of a simple life, where they have bread every day, a simple love, a good family, and a quiet death. I can’t understand that. I don’t want that. Even if my life looks like that, I want those who are not interviewed for biographies to know that my life meant something more, that it was valiant and visionary, touching lives and changing them and the whole world. I want to be well, but I would rather be good. I want to be simple, but would rather follow the swirling road of faith, blown about by the Spirit. If big things are happening, if dire things, I would rather suffer in them than ignore them, apart, all things being well – but only for me.

Imagine my granddaughter finding one of my journals, reading of my pathetic longing for Chicago, and sharing that. Suppose I never live there, but it’s the family universal castle in the clouds, visited occasionally and left only reluctantly, but always held as this ideal, secret like a password or family recipe. Just an example. Now, wouldn’t it be exciting to find one of my great-grandmother’s or great-great-grandmother’s journals that raved about Chicago?

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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