How are you?


Day Nineteen: Don’t Stop the Rockin’

Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.

**This exercise was hard – not to write, but to post without editing.  Thanks for reading!

 

“How are you?”

I’ve been pondering those words since I received a two sentence reply from a friend when I asked how she was. She ended the email with these words,

“Oh well!  I’ve taken way too long writing this very short response to your question “How about you?”

I think my pondering came more from the next email in my inbox from a friend asking me, “How are you?”

How do I answer that?

Fine.

Been better.

Well, since you asked….

After thinking about it for a few minutes I closed my laptop and left the question unanswered.

I’m not depressed, and I don’t think I’m alone in my struggle to quantify the question, “How are you?”   How do you mesh the emotional yuck from the blechy stuff in your life with the rays of sunshine that were sprinkled throughout your day?  My friend from the first email worded it well when she said,

“I’m a mixed bag right now,  sometimes depressed…other times happy and loving life.  It’s hard to hold the contrasts, I guess.”

I couldn’t agree more with her.

Sometimes my answer of, “fine” is because I truly am fine.  Other times it’s because I’m in a hurry and just don’t have the time to explain.  Other times I lack the energy to explain the depths of my un-fineness. Then there are the times that my un-fineness is the result of my own making and I know that.  I don’t want to verbally throw up all over my friends.

Or maybe sometimes it’s because I am afraid to be honest.  Honest is vulnerable.  Honest requires courage and confidence – confidence to handle your friend’s response. Honest requires humility.  When we answer, “fine” we can continue to solve all our problems ourselves – the way we want them solved.

I’m just starting to learn just how much we need friends in our lives.  Not just surface friends, but the ones who are willing to invest in you and you in them.  In light darkness is dispelled.  When I’m willing to look deeply enough inside myself and then be honest, I find perspective I would have never come up with on my own.  Sometimes I’m not crazy about the answers. But, that makes me think of Prov. 27:6 “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”

That makes me think of another conversation I had earlier this week.  How do we as fellow writers encourage each other and still give advice or perspective? Without the criticisms we don’t grow.  But, growth hurts.  When I was a pre-teen I would wake up in the night with “growing pains.”  My mom would give me dolomite pill and send me back to bed.  In the end there wasn’t much she could do for me, so a calcium/magnesium pill would hopefully take the edge off – or at least give me a placebo affect. I want to be the kind of writer or friend who can take the growing pains my friends who love me give me.  I just hope they cushion them with the dolomite pill of encouraging words too.

 


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2 Comments on "How are you?"

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kellygriffiths
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This post resonates with me, totally. I’ve often thought about the flippant way we throw that question and its answer around. Some days I don’t leave the house because I don’t want to be confronted with that innocuous question… Lest I fall apart in front of someone. But those days are the bottom of the barrel days, not too common anymore. I’m thankful you put this out there.

Nancy Beach
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Thank you for your honest thoughts. Your in my prayers, friend.

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