Growing up, like so many in Michigan we watched the Red Green show often. There was a segment where Red would address the men regarding the three little words they found so hard to say, “I don’t know.”
While that may be true enough, possibly for men in particular, they are not the words that I personally over the last few months have discovered are actually the hardest words out there to say.
The hardest three words, are ones that are in fact said all too often. They are spoken more often than not as a lie, a cover, or out of desperate hope. These words are ones that we speak hoping that no one will be able to see the wounds we are trying to hide or the giants we are fearfully facing.
We choke on these three words and shed tears over them when no one is looking. We chant them into a mirror while we put on our war paint for the day. We rehearse the smile and the laugh that goes along with them. We lay on our floors at the end of the day when we just can’t bear these words a second longer.
No, “I don’t know,” are not the hardest words to speak.
“I am fine.” are the words.
“I am fine.” “I am OK.”
How many times have you said these words knowing they were a lie. How many times did you get the expected positive responses you were dreading, as you continued a normal conversation dying inside. How many time have you told someone “I am fine,” because you feel the need to carry your burden alone.
Across our country there are hundreds of farmers and others who say “I am fine,” everyday before taking their lives, breaking down physically, emotionally or financially. They are the hardest words I feel a person can speak. I know over the last few months I have said them often, as a lie and as a wish. A lie because I have been broken by circumstance, I have lost so many hopes and dreams. A wish because I want to prevail. I want to continue to carry on the life I dreamed of even if it now is resting solely on my shoulders.
I will continue to build and rebuild. And if you ask me tomorrow how I am I will answer you with “I am fine.” I will likely say it with a smile and some witty or sarcastic remark to follow. Not because it is true, but because like so many of us who say it, I need to believe it.