The other day I asked someone, "How are you doing?"
She replied, "Things are actually pretty not terrible," and then she laughed.
"Sometimes the best you can hope for is pretty not terrible," she said.
I laughed too, nodding in agreement.
Later, I wondered if that's really true. Is "actually pretty not terrible" the BEST you can hope for?
This person has been going through some family difficulties that don't appear to have a definite happily ever after, at least not on the near horizon.
So, to her, "actually pretty not terrible" is actually a reason to celebrate.
And maybe that's a good thing, to celebrate more of the not-terrible moments and the just plain ordinary moments as well as the happily ever afters.
It's been a while since I've been to a Weight Watchers meeting -- so long that it's now called WW. But what I used to love about the meetings is how everyone celebrated even a ¼-pound weight loss.
You could have 100 more pounds to lose to reach your goal, but everyone at your meeting claps for you when you raise your hand and say, "I lost ¼ of a pound."
And if you say, "I ONLY lost 1/4 of a pound," someone will point out that it's not "only," that it's progress and an actual reason to celebrate.
Here's my observation: In life, we all have a "big ask" of God -- "Please heal my child" or "Please end world hunger."
We pray, we wait in expectation. We know that ultimately all things will be restored and made new in eternity.
We know we're not guaranteed our big asks will be answered next week or ever here on Earth.
So, we continue praying, but we don't despair when we don't see our answers right away.
We do, however, celebrate what we do see.
We celebrate the actually pretty not terrible and the everyday and the ordinary, because God is there with us. God is forever working in our midst and on our behalf.
Just this morning I found an old email from the one I call my uncle dad. In it he wrote: "You said that you're tired of believing that God's 'gonna do' stuff. Nancy! God isn't 'gonna' do -- he IS doing. He's just not done yet. So, go eat some ice cream."
God created the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef and the giant humpback whales that perform acrobatics, jumping out of the water and spinning in the air as they migrate along the Pacific coast.
But he also created goldfish and bananas and slugs.
Jesus healed the blind and the lame. He fed crowds of thousands and raised people from the dead.
He also roasted fish for breakfast for a few friends.
Whether big and grand, ordinary and everyday, or even the 'actually pretty not terrible," God is there, in our midst, full of care and kindness, mercy and grace for those he loves.
And that's actually a pretty good reason to celebrate.
Nancy Kennedy is the author of "Move Over, Victoria - I Know the Real Secret," "Girl on a Swing," and her latest book, "Lipstick Grace." She can be reached at 352-564-2927 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.