Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, April 2, 2015
Day #38 – Can I Open Up?
I am guilty, I admit it. I have quickly responded “I’m fine!” to the question “How are you?” Even when I was not, really, fine.
Sometimes, I knew that the person asking was only looking for a quick answer. Even, a superficial answer. Merely passing the time of day. Occasionally, I suspected the person asking me the question was making acceptable or expected social noises. (You can feel in your gut and know deep down when that happens. I don’t need to spell it out.)
But sometimes. Sometimes. The person was truly, honestly looking for information. Wishing for a connection. Striving to develop that relationship. And I? I was having none of it. Or, perhaps even worse, I just did not have time.
Mea culpa, Lord. Mea culpa.
At least I regularly show others that I am interested in their extended answers! When I do the same thing, ask the same questions, I sometimes get the long answer from my conversation partner, and that’s okay. Sometimes, it is more than okay. Showing emotion and crying and letting down one’s guard? Totally okay, as far as I am concerned.
Goodness knows that I have sometimes been guilty of it, and answered back in a dismissive or evasive response. Or, simply been too busy to engage.
My current job does complicate things, though. I am a pastor at a local church. I do try to be accessible, open, affirming, nurturing, and interested in everyone I meet. I really do try! Yet, I need to maintain some degree of professionalism. Remain warm and engaged, with a healthy dose of empathetic understanding. Plus, balance that with some basic relational, psychological and emotional engagement principles. It is a juggling, balancing act, to be sure!
Thank goodness that I have some good friends and acquaintances outside of my work. I especially appreciate the people I am now connected to through the Internet. Through Facebook, and Twitter. Two particular groups of people allow me to be honest, open and genuine. I can engage in lively debate, friendly (sometimes snarky) banter, and downright foolishness, if I want to! I feel I can lay down my cards on the table, and don’t need to be as careful of professional boundaries. What freedom!
So, yes. I have been aware of the ubiquitous “How are you?” and the tepid response “I’m fine” for the past few years. And God is working with me, with that. God really is. I know. I do appreciate the reminder. Good to be brought back to what is important in life. Again. Thanks, God!
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