“It is what it is” is what it is

This phrase has been annoying many of us for quite some time now. Urban Dictionary has a concise, if rude, definition.

Used often in the business world, this incredibly versatile phrase can be literally translated as “f*** it.”

Google search results for “It is what it is.”

UD didn’t censure itself, of course. All too often it is used as an excuse, a statement to justify not taking any action or even caring about something. “Well, it is what it is.” Means, in less pedestrian terms than UD, “I cannot be bothered to do anything about it. Nothing will change it.” Whatever “it” is. I understand why many, often myself included, get irritated by its use. Most things are not immutable. Most states, situations, and circumstances are not stuck in a permanent condition and if the situation is one that is not commendable then we ought to at least attempt to change it. “It is what it is, but it is not what it should be” was the slogan of one image that came up in a Google search. Often we should add “but I am doing my best to change it.”

Yet when it comes to our grief and our loss, it is what it is. Mack is gone, he is no longer with us in this world, and we must face that and accept it. It is what it is. His death is immutable.

As we accept it, we do not relish it or allow it to remain unexamined. Similar to my thoughts on “When do we forgive?” I know that for my own health, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, I need to come to terms with the unalterable fact. It is what it is. But in a very real way, “it,” Mack’s death, is what we make of it. We hold firm to the faith and conviction that we will be raised with him in Christ; we remember him with joy and share that memory with others; and we celebrate his life and allow it to bring inspiration to others through the Fund.

It is what it is. We cannot change that. But we can decide what it will be.


My old roommate KEO reminded me of the song “It Is What It Is (What It Is)” by one of my favorite bands, Adam Again.

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