One of my best friends recently returned home from Wisconsin after serving an 18-month mission there for our church and two Sundays ago Nate and I went up to hear her speak in church. Nate and I are both from that area so during church and at the get-together later we saw a lot of people we knew, and they all wanted to know how we had been doing. How do you respond when someone asks you how you're doing? I'm sure I always end up sounding incredibly awkward as I instantly think of a million things I would like to say about how I really am, but finally settle on just saying, "I'm good. Just working a lot. Tryin' to stay busy." From there the conversation usually goes on to talk about what I do for work, or what Nate does for work, but it rarely went deeper than that. Maybe it's because I have zero skills in small talk, but by the end of the day I was so over talking about my job.
For some unknown reason, whenever I'm asked how I'm doing I assume it's only meant in casual greeting so I respond with the typical, "fine, thanks" and move on from there. I assume that the person asking (unless it's my mom) doesn't really want to know my innermost thoughts and feelings, but I'm not sure where this assumption stems from because, personally, if I asked somewhere how they were and they decided to be open about themselves, I would totally welcome that with open arms.
I recently read an article written by a man named Omid Safi called "The Disease of Being Busy". Many of the points he makes hit home for me, especially after that Sunday, because I was feeling drained from so much trivial, repetitive conversation. Safi says, “What happened to a world in which we can sit with the people we love so much and have slow conversations about the state of our heart and soul, conversations that slowly unfold, conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill?”
I don't know about you, but man I long for some of that slowness.
In one of my favorite parts of the article, he writes,
“In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal?
What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.
I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.”
With that that in mind, how are you? I'm dealing with a whole slew of emotions right now. I'm worried about news that my little brothers heart that has recently taken a turn for the worst, but I'm grateful that we are aware of the situation and that he is getting the care that he needs. I'm exhausted with trying to get pregnant. I'm trying to play it off that I don't care that much, but last month I was so sure that I was and it's devastating to be wrong, month after month. Neither myself or Nate are satisfied with our current jobs situations so we're searching for alternatives. In the meantime, he has found an outlet in baseball (go Dodgers!) and I am finding solace in spending as much time as I can on the beach and in the ocean.
Safi ends the article by saying, “Let us insist on a type of human-to-human connection where when one of us responds by saying, “I am just so busy,” we can follow up by saying, “I know, love. We all are. But I want to know how your heart is doing.””