Is there ever a time when “how are you?” really would be better served as a greeting?
Did you ever have one of those mornings where you woke up and your brain just couldn’t formulate a single coherent thought?
Where even a simple, mundane task like getting a drink for the kids would become like climbing Everest?
And yet when you venture into your day and you’re met with the usual, “Hello. How are you?” you’re all like, “Great thanks. How are you?”
I’ve said it before and it bears repeating …
“How are you?” is a question, not a greeting.
This morning was one of those morning, largely because I went to bed too late and had to get up at ten to five to take my eldest daughter to catch a bus to London.
My eldest daughter is ten, and she’s been stupidly excited about her trip to London with school. They’re packing so much into two days, she’ll need a week to recover. (Good job next week is half term!)
And I’m excited for her.
And I’m constantly looking at the clock, wondering where she is right now and what she’s doing, because they were banned from taking their phones. She has her iPod and I’m hoping if she finds some free wifi, she might spare a thought for home and send a quick iMessage but I’m not holding my breath!
And I can’t wait to hear all about it when she gets back.
And I keep thinking dark thoughts that I refuse to allow space in my brain for more than two seconds, let alone whisper aloud to anyone else.
And I’m doing some really fun stuff with her brother and sister while she’s away.
And I can’t wait for her to get home again.
“How are you?” “Great thanks, how are you?” 😉
Sometimes life is far less complicated if we pretend.
Sometimes there are things we think in our heads that we can’t really imagine uttering out loud.
But what would it be like to be the person who actually let’s other people in?
What would it be like to admit that, actually, yes, I am missing my daughter and yes, although I wouldn’t dream of saying so to her, part of me is terrified that this is the one time the school takes a trip to London and something goes wrong.
Is there such a thing as being too honest and open?
We hear that honesty disarms people. Authenticity has become a buzz word but what if authenticity is more than updating Facebook about how much you love Game of Thrones?
What if real honesty is more to do with feelings and thoughts about the stuff that really matters to us?
I can geek out all day with Doctor Who references and I’m the queen of the sound bite, but if I can’t be really honest about what I actually think and feel and believe, how does that help make today a little brighter?
Today, for one day only, I dare us to think before we speak when asked the “how are you?” question.
Today, for one day only, I dare us to actually let someone else in. It doesn’t have to be something massive, it just has to be real.
And if it’s totally unimaginable for you, try starting with God. Tell him what’s really going on. And ask him to help you be real with another human.
If you can model real openness and honesty today, just imagine for a moment what that might do for the person you’re speaking to.
Sure, it’ll take a little time (God forbid, you might end up having an actual conversation with someone) but what if that turns out to be the one ray of delight in someone’s otherwise terrible day.
What if by being open and honest, you made today better for yourself and the people around you?
What might that look like?
Imagine the possibilities.