How are you doing, really?
COVID-19 is at the top of every newscast, its impact is being dissected by every expert in the field, every scary detail of this pandemic is outlined everyday on the front page of every newspaper we dare to pick up. It can all feel a bit overwhelming, at times.
So — how are you doing? A week or two ago, the normal reply to that simple question, from any of us might have been, “Fine, how about you?” — a quick exchange with limited thought or effort before we moved on to whatever it was we really wanted to talk about. Have you noticed how, over the last several days, our usual greetings and responses have changed, better yet, deepened? I was at a Starbucks drive through window recently, and the fellow handing me my order asked me that simple question – though not in the flippant way we’ve conditioned ourselves to expect. Nope, this barista asked it with an earnestness more often expected in conversations with your closest friend, minister, priest or rabbi. The sincerity threw me! I wasn’t sure if he was there to hand me my coffee, or take my confession — or if I was there to take it or give it! I have to tell you, I was honestly grateful for the exchange, and the concern shown at a moment when my mind may needed to have been stilled, and when it would have been wonderful to unload one or two of the unordered thoughts swirling around in my head that afternoon with someone who seemed to honestly care. I was blessed, but, with a line of cars behind me, I took my grande caramel macchiato, warm brownie, and drove off with a simple and sincere “thank you”.
Is it just my imagination or are we experiencing a heightened sense of interest in one another’s welfare as we go about our daily tasks and errands? Are we slowing down and investing more in the emotional, physical and spiritual wellness of those around us?
We’re in a different place today than we were just yesterday. Rather than skipping over these questions as if they were merely a pattern of speech without any purpose, many are pausing and giving intentional thought to both question and answer — we are beginning to listen more, and to listen better! A small miracle, perhaps, but, one which opens up new blessings whenever we engage it! The people who are “walking in darkness are seeing a great light”. People, who might otherwise be seized by their fears, or feeling as if they are alone in them because of social distancing and quarantines, are given hope whenever the light of someone’s compassionate listening or a person’s caring response shines upon them. The Light of Christ is shining on them in those moments — very likely through you!
A Baptist named Joseph Fort Newton, stated the plain truth of life when he said, “Life is an adventure of faith. We can not tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life. But we can decide what happens in us — how we take it, what we do with it — and that is what really counts in the end.”
Let’s learn from one another, as we lean into life with confidence. “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?” Isaiah 56:3-4 (NLT).
Let me know if you would like to talk anytime. I’d be honoured to listen.