Monday, November 17, 2008

Word of the Week: Okay!

Did you ever wonder about the origin of this word? I have, ever since my high school English teachers insisted it was not a word. Apparently in Boston newpapers circa 1830, it was fashionable to reduce a phrase to initials, with an explanation in parentheses. The abbreviations were sometimes purposely misspelled, to add to the humor. OK was used in 1839, short for all correct - the joke being that neither the O or K was correct. And there's the story that President Martin Van Buren's nickname was Old Kinderhook, which lent itself nicely to his campaign slogan!

So what does "okay" mean for me?

It's a bridge between acceptance of and embracing change. It's that point where I'm not exactly loving the changes, but I know things are going to be okay.

It's when things don't look exactly like I (or others) think they should but I remember God is nevertheless in control.

It's when I can leave work almost on time, with a pile of things left to do, knowing it will be there tomorrow. Or knowing that, in spite of what seems like a horrible mistake, things will eventually be alright. Somehow a solution will be found and life will move on.

It's that place where I can breathe.

I'm not talking about passivity here. My sister used to accuse me of being passive. Because little things like losing my keys (we found them in the sofa cushions in the lobby of our apartment bldg. a week later) and never having gas in my tank (hey, we'd just use her car) didn't bother me. I think I've come to realize much of my passive nature was really just avoidance of the truth. Okay is not denying truth or looking the other way, but moving towards acceptance.

So what are you "okay" with today? What does "okay" look like for you? Is it a good word for you, or one that denotes something negative?


Becky said...

Well ... and so are you! Who knew???

Good to see you back as well. Somehow it just seems I have to get things out ... and I am not one for pen and paper in this day.

I love your letter to Obama. As a believer it just breaks my heart to see groups like "impeach Obama" and "against Obama". He may not be one's choice politically but he is going to be everyone's president and we are called to support him.

I, too, am awed by the process and so excited that our country has had such a historic election. We've come a long way. And we have a long way to go.

Good to hear you again.

Katrina said...

If I ask Camden how dinner was (when, for example, I test out a new chicken dish), I often hear, "It's...okay." Which means -- I'll tolerate it, but you don't have to make it again if you don't want to.

Often, I use "okay" in the same way. "How are you?" "I'm okay." Which means -- I'm surviving, but things could be better.

Good reminder that okay can be used the other way too. Not perfect, but definitely acceptable. Good enough to go to sleep in peace and get up again the next day.