Monday, March 26, 2012


"How are you today?"

"I'm fine."

We've all participated in this verbal handshake. Like Eliza Doolittle at the races - purring "How do you do?" - we're not really asking a question and we don't really expect an answer. It's like nodding and smiling at someone as you pass them on the sidewalk. Just a social pleasantry.

I had a pastor once who told me that FINE stood for Frazzled, Insecure, Neurotic, and Exhausted. "How are you today?" "I'm FINE!" A loaded answer, translated "Trust me - you just don't want to know how I'm really doing!"

I'm finding it increasingly difficult to answer "Fine," even though I know it is expected and probably quite sufficient. Maybe I'm not feeling completely frazzled, insecure, neurotic, and exhausted (well, yes, perhaps exhausted) - but I'm not just generic fine, either. Saying "I'm fine today" feels like an outright lie. Ten Commandment violation stuff.

More and more, I find myself answering "I'm not doing too great, but I'm hanging in there." Or, "Actually, I'm a mess...I need Jesus all over me." Or, "Today is a good day, and that is enough." Or even, "I'm not doing well at all and I'm really discouraged. Would you pray for me?"

How about you, Dear Reader? How do you answer this innocuous question - "How are you today?" - with some measure of integrity? Am I the only person who struggles with how to respond simply, but with some degree of truthfulness?


J. K. Jones said...

I usually respond “Fabulous.”

‘Fake it till you make it,’ as the saying goes.

Anonymous said...

I answer "Busy with medical school."
It is true, and I can avoid lying about being fine.

Anonymous said...

There are people that you don't dare ask "how are you". They will tell you. She was a waitress where we ate lunch. We had warned a guest not to ask her. But she did. The waitress answere "Lord Honney, I puked all night and my feet are killing me." Some time it is best not to ask. dad