Day 5 ~ “How Are You?”

We’ve all experienced it…maybe even today! We run into someone we haven’t seen for a while, and without even thinking about it, out comes this phrase like a smooth pebble skipping across the gentle stream of pleasantries, “How are you?” And, of course, this is usually followed by the equally benign reply, “Fine. And you?” “Oh, me? Good!”

Don’t you wonder how that conversation might go if the other person responded, well….honestly? Let’s just take a moment to imagine. =)

“Hi! How are you?

“Oh, Hello. Actually, I’m worried about meeting my house payment this month and I’m feeling really sad and disconnected.”

“…………………….” “Hey, good seeing you – take care!”

A w k w a r d.

And, let’s be honest….even the “How are you?” initiators have some ‘fessing up to do. What we may really be thinking is,

“Hey, I haven’t seen you in a while, and I may be interested in catching up, but I’m on my way into Target and it’s not really a good time – in fact, I don’t really even know you very well, so I’mma gonna be polite, say “Take care!” and keep pushing my cart into the annonymous crowd now….”

I get it! In fact, I’ve contributed to my share of less than authentic pleasentries, and I think I know why it happens, at least for me. I want to acknowledge someone’s presence, and depending on what the relationship is, and the time available, I may want to linger in the parking lot for a good long chat. Or…..I may just not be feeling like talking and don’t want to be rude or impolite – I still want to be courteous, just not for long!

There are many things we can and will focus on during this season of Lent. Traditionally, it is a time of contemplation and repentance; a time of observing ways in which we may be broken and ways in which we may need to be broken.

If these seem like really big reflection bites, how about for Day 5, we just nibble at the simple ways in which we connect with one another? Are we really seeing those around us? Are we daring to allow them to see us? I’m not talking about pouring out your heart to the next unsuspecting person who happens to be the next one to say, “Hi! How are you?” Not every time is the right time and not person is a safe person to share true feelings with, but can’t there be something in between?

For example…..I recently ran into a friend with whom I have a close relationship, and hadn’t seen in a while. There is already a level of trust established, and yet our greeting was much the same as the standard fare. Then she paused for just a couple of seconds longer and asked the question again, “How ARE you?”

Busted….(and here come the tears.)

Truth is, it had been a challenging day and I was struggling. My day had still been challenging the first time she asked, but the second time, it wasn’t just a greeting. It was an inquiry about my heart. I wasn’t just acknowledged – I had been seen. What a difference!

So, my challenge to you, my beautiful Lenten family (and myself too!) is to truly consider how we greet and connect with one another. Sometimes all we have time for is the “Hi”, and that’s totally ok. But might there be times when we dare to extend our time, our intentions and even our love for just a bit more to check in with one another? And in addition to “How are you?” consider the options of, “How are you feeling today?”, “What’s new?”, “What are you up to?”, How are things going?”, and “What’s going on?” =)

I know not everyone is ok….maybe you’re not ok. What would it be for someone to look you in the eye for that extra few seconds and really care to hear your reply? Pretty powerful stuff…

The basic need for connection and safety is built into our DNA. We were created for relationship with God and with one another. Even the smallest amount of genuine interest could be the thing that absolutely turns someone’s day around and helps them connect to the next person in a more honest and authentic way. Imagine the chain reaction if when we asked, “How are you?” we really listened for (and cared about) the reply? =)

Jesus looked deep into the hearts of everyone he encountered, and met them where they were with the deepest, all-encompassing love, and because of his sacrifice, we not only have access to that love to share with others, but it’s right here for us whenever we need to remember how connected we are in spirit as well as community.

Jesus sees us. He knows us. And he loves us completely.

If you asked me how I am right now, my honest reply would be, “Life isn’t perfect, and there are still things I’m trying to sort out. My heart still has some broken places, but it is also very, very full. I feel seen and loved by God. So, at this moment, I’m good.” And I would mean it.



About Shellie Warren

Welcome ~ I am a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a dreamer and a writer. But most of all I am a woman of faith - I have a deep longing to know and love....God.
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