Monday, May 19, 2008

Being Honest to "How are you?"

How often are you asked, "How are you?" and you answer, "Fine" because you don't think you should be honest?

Yesterday, as I came out of the restroom at church--our first Sunday in many due to my speaking schedule taking me (or both of us) out of town or state--a guy from our home Bible study group asked me that.

I answered, "I'm tired and stiff! I believe in being honest." I laughed.
"You should be," he replied.

But do you really think you should be honest? Or can you be and still feel acceptable to the person to whom you are speaking? I remember during my second year of living with MS being asked by a woman at a potluck supper that same question. I looked her in the eye and asked--for some crazy reason I can't explain, "Do you really want to know?"

She answered, "Not really," and turned around to walk away! And this was a friend of mine . . .

Now you need to know that I wasn't a person who complained or told every symptom I felt, and I was often told, "You're such an inspiration and encouragement to others!"

Yet for the same reason you feel unable to answer that question, "How are you?" truthfully, because we all know it's just part of the greeting, I guess I wanted to know someone really cared. (I think I'm figuring it out right now why I said that years ago--I often do this during my ramblings on paper or to another person!)

After that conversation we walked, with Ray supporting my left arm, across our huge church foyer to say "Hi" and get a big hug from our women's ministry director who asked me the same thing.

"I haven't slept for several nights and I'm stiff, but like a Hillsong tune says, 'I get up, get up, get up and praise him!'" Judith laughed and nodded understandingly.

I'm so glad I am being honest about how I feel and letting the chips fall where they may. Just because I don't feel great doesn't mean I am not praising God because of who he is and how great it is to be loved by him!

If I could look you in the eye I would ask you right now, "How are you?" and really mean it. Think about your answer. Be honest with me. Can you be honest with yourself? It's okay to do so. It doesn't indicate negativity or a lack of faith. If you are complaining and griping or taking your physical or emotional feelings out on someone else, then you have reason to question your attitude, but not just for being honest.

I urge you, friend, to let people into your reality--where truth really lies for you. Let them come alongside and listen if you're having a bad or not-so-great day. Last night I slept better and today I'm not as stiff, but that doesn't mean yesterday I shouldn't be honest. The smiles I received and compassion helped!

Talk to you next week!


Kristen said...

This topic must be on the minds of many of us these days. I posted about it and posted another author's thoughts on my blog as well...all on the topic of "How are you?". Thanks for being honest.

Jo Franz said...

Must be, Karen! Thanks for addint your post. I think it's on our minds whenever we're with people and we haven't yet resolved it, don't you?
Blessings to you as well!