How are you?

The 3 words “how are you” that come out of my mouth (as they do most southerner’s) with little thought seem almost laughable right now. Still I find myself continuing to roll them off without missing a beat as I greet someone. When the question is directed back at me, I seem to hesitate…

Sometimes I just rattle off “fine” either without thinking or without wanting to really talk about how I really am. Sometimes I’ll say “okay” so that the person knows I’m not fine, but I’m not all down and out either. Other times, I avoid the question all together and stop myself from asking back, “Seriously, do you really want to know how I am?”

Why, oh why, do we ask that well-meaning question? I’m pretty sure that most of the time most folks really would not want to hear my honest answer. It is just too much, too much. Yet, sometimes I just blurt out without thinking. I almost need to wear a sign “Caution: I never know what is going to come out of my mouth and in about 5 minutes I’m gonna forget everything I just said to you (not because I don’t care, it’s just that a major symptom of extreme grief is forgetfulness).”

I really think I would lose my head were it not attached to my body. That also explains the countless phone calls, emails and texts that have gone unreturned or are way delayed. I listen to or read every one, and I am so very grateful to have so many people who genuinely care about how I am doing. Please don’t give up on me.

These verses came to me in one of my daily Griefshare emails the other day (for anyone going through grief, I highly recommend signing up for these), so here is my best answer to how I am:

“…hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed…” ~ 2 Cor. 4: 8-9

Dearly loved,

3 thoughts on “How are you?

  1. Beautifully said, Melissa. I am one who usually blows people off with a smile when they ask “How are you?” I feel like when I ask it, I really want to know. And if I don’t, I don’t.

    So, how are you, Melissa?

    I am here thinking about you and Tony as I read this. Thinking about how beautifully you danced together at our wedding when Tony asked the DJ for some salsa to dance to. Thinking about how at one of the “Coffee House” events my daughter commented on the way home how you two “fit”. (Brianna will call things out about people sometimes that may seem out of the blue, but I believe she has the gift of discernment.) And with you and Tony- she just knew and made it known to us that she knew and that she wanted to meet her husband at church, too. These are things you may never have known that I noticed from afar, Melissa. So, know them now and know that when I ask “How are you?”… I mean it because I take notice of the people God puts in my path- either in passing like you and I or for a season or for a life. And as the Good Lord would have me do, I try to love people as He would have me to by using the gifts He has granted me. One being communication. So, I may not know your grief or too many other details about you, but if you ever want to talk to someone different, please give me a shout. I can just listen. Or respond when felt led to. Or do the talking if you are tired of talking. Then, in that type of one on one conversation, is how someone can know how someone is really doing.
    In it with you,

  2. I hear you! Having had major surgery a few weeks ago, people ask me the same question. I am grateful, because for mw my honest answer is “GREAT!”. But I often wonder; what if it wasn’t, would they really want to hear about the pain and physical symptoms? I find that my dearest friends and family, as well as some special co-workers, truly do want to hear the truth. And praise God for those people in our lives! The others, well, like you say, it’s with good intentions…

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