Dear fellow child of God,
I get it.
I understand why you do it. It’s just habit. I’m guilty of it too. And it’s easy to do, and it’s difficult to think of a way around it. And it takes many forms, doesn’t it? How’s it going? How are you? How have you been? What’s going on with you? And the response is just as ubiquitous: It’s going well. I’m okay. I’ve been doing well. Not much, just normal stuff. This exchange is almost a prerequisite to any actual conversation, so we go through it all the time.
But you know what?
I’m not okay.
I’m not okay. I’m scared of the future. I’m exhausted by my present trials. I’m dredging up parts of my past I never wanted to relive. My faith in my God is being shaken and I don’t know where to find support. I’m tired long before bedtime most evenings. My relationships are fracturing. I am losing hope. I am beset on every front by problems I didn’t even know existed.
I’m not okay.
And neither are you.
You’ve got problems too. Probably some much worse than mine. Some you don’t want to share with me. And that’s fine. For the most part, I don’t want to share my problems with you either. But I do want to treat you with dignity. I don’t want to lie to you. And when you cavalierly ask me how I’m doing, you put me in a place where my only feasible option is to do just that. To answer a shallow, false, I’m okay.
And I know I do it too. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Forgive me for painting over your non-trivial pain with such a trivial interrogation. From now on, instead of blithely inquiring after a topic we both don’t really care about, instead of forcing you to be okay, I’m going to just let you be. Let’s both do that. Just let me be near you. And if you can see I’m suffering, and if you’re suffering, and if we end up talking about those interior things anyway, at least we’ll know it’s because we’re okay with each other knowing that we’re not okay.
We’re not okay. But the first step away from that is to acknowledge it.
In longing for the peace and contentment of Christ,