Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hi. How are you?

"Hi. How are you?"
"I'm fine."

That exchange has become America's way of greeting people, of acknowledging them as we pass them by going our own way. That greeting is OK on a certain level, like passing people you barely know in the store or at the bank.

But what about the days you greet a friend that way, or they greet you, and you are not fine?
Have you ever out of habit just said "Fine", and life did not seem fine? And what about the other person? Do you take time to see their face? To see if things looked like they were fine or not? You can tell a lot by looking into someones eyes for a moment.
But, do we take a moment? Do we take the time out of our own busy lives to look, or listen, really listen, for an answer? Maybe they say "fine" because they know you aren't going to take the time to listen, or care about their world, which may at that moment seem like a world of hurt.
Do you say "fine" because if you say anything else they may see that your world is falling apart, and you won't be able to maintain if you let them look you in the eye?

Are we so afraid of falling apart or letting someone else in that we will just carry whatever weight is on our shoulders by ourselves? Are we so busy that we can't help carry someone elses weight with them?

I know there is a time and place for everything, but maybe when you're passing the next person you know, and giving the traditional "Hi. How are you?" and walking on by, you look them in the eye to see how they are really doing? You touch them on the shoulder so that even in passing they will know you care even a bit, and, if you can make time, share their load, or let them share yours.

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