Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Have you ever been having an honestly AWFUL day (or week, or month, etc) and people ask the standard question of the promenade (or the cafe' line, or the dorm hall, etc)
"How are you?"
And you're really not doing great. In fact, you're pretty down under and tears might even be just about to flood over the gates you've barred up. But you don't want to tell them all that, because in reality, they don't want to know. For them it's just a formality, a greeting to acknowledge the presence of an acquaintance or old friend, and then continue on with their lives.

Synonyms for "good" rise to your lips and then fall away before ever making their escape. You don't want to lie. Because all those nice words wouldn't be the truth. And truth is important. So you stutter out one of those in-between words like "decent", "alright", "ok", or "fine". They might notice that your tone of voice is lacking in cheeriness but their mind is already reviewing for the quiz of the class that they are late to. So they rush off. And a tear overflows the barrier you've put up. and you walk on, alone.

Then you're sitting down at a club meeting, the potluck table at church, or in your dorm room. A friend sits down besides you, looks you directly in the eye, says those three words that you've been avoiding all day.
"How are you?"
And for the first time in a while, you know that the words are sincere. Finally, you muster the courage and force your tongue to form words that have been building up all day: "not so good", "awful", "not great", "could be better", "hurting", "sad". Relief floods in as you admit that the world isn't all it's cracked up to be. That sincere Christians indeed do have things that make them cry. That you're not the perfect person you pretend to be. That deep down, you're hurting as well. For the first time that day, you appreciate the three words that so many times make you cringe. And more importantly, you appreciate that person, close friend or not, who took the time to care.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not trying to be accusatory or make anyone feel bad. I just thought that maybe others have had these same feelings once upon a time. I like to say things that most people think or feel, yet never really want to say out loud. You can blame it on my friend Jon Van Ornam. He's the one who taught me.

6 comments:

shama said...

I want you to know that you are on my prayer list. Thanks for inspiring me to be more sensitive.

emily said...

guilty. maybe i will start putting my nursing techniques of therapuetic communication to use and stop blocking how a person truly feels. by saying things such as "i hope you will have a nice day, christy!" or "you will be just fine!"

Christy said...

DISCLAIMER: I'm not trying to be accusatory or make anyone feel bad. I just thought that maybe others had had these same feelings once upon a time. I like to say things that most people think or feel, yet never really want to say out loud. You can blame it on my friend Jon Van Ornam. He's the one who taught me.

Little Christen said...

I love the way you wrote this, Christy. Even though it's personal, I think a lot of people at Southern could appreciate it. And I want you to know, Christy, that whenever I see you in passing and ask you how you are, I mean it, and I really want to know because I care about you. Love you. :D

Caitlin said...

Dearest Christy,

I miss you! you seem so far away when I'm not on campus anymore.
I'm praying for you often though. And I really appreciate the way you wrote this - because you expressed the sentiment of humanity.

Kelsey said...

I know the feeling. My roommate and I my freshman year developed the "weather forecast system."

"How are you?"

"I'm slightly cloudy with a 50% chance of precipitation, thank you. And how are you?"
Or
"Thunderstorms are on the horizen, but at this point in time it's sunny."

Excellent blog Christy: thanks for sharing. I think we could all use a bit less superficial communication.

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