Thursday, August 25, 2011

Being real

Sweet Mikkie,

I had a good experience on Sunday. A friend came up to tell me how they saw the thing I wrote about Forgiveness Day. She started crying saying how hard it is and began explaining how she felt. I told her that it's not something that just happens overnight, it takes time. She kept crying saying she doesn't have any friends to talk to about it and we just stood there hugging. It was a touching example to me. An example of the power of caring, listening, taking time for others, of being real with someone. Let me explain by what I mean by that.

For a while now it has really bugged me how the phrase "how are you?" seems so meaningless. I wonder why sometimes the only thing I can think of to say is 'how are you?' and question the sincerity of the question as someone says it in passing, not waiting for the answer. It's just been something that's always been eating at me. Until last week when daddy and I went to listen to a local speaker who is very knowledgeable in relationships. He gave some examples of some personal experiences at funerals, which hit home with me as he was talking, although I couldn't believe some of the things that he heard. An example of being real he gave was people would come in the line, asking how they were doing, when it's obvious that they had just lost a loved one so they're not doing all that dandy. When another person, instead of asking how they are doing because it was apparent they were grieving, stated, "I can't believe how you must feel" or "You seem so strong". One simply said they didn't know what to say to which the father stated "there's nothing to say" and they all just hugged and cried together.
Another example of being real is some people were asking what they could do to help and to let them know if they need anything. A lady back in the line was being real and took notice that the family was parched; she ran to get some cups, filled them with water and took it to them stating, "you look like you could use a drink".

Back to my experience, I realized I could've just asked my friend how she was, like most times, going : "how are you?" "good. how are you?" "good." It just seems so artificial to me. Instead of asking that question, I thanked her for her kind comment, leading to the rest of the story. It just hit me, when that happened, thoughts of what I learned a few days prior flooding my mind, I need to be real with people. I then told myself I'm not going to ask that question unless I really want to know and am going to stick around to listen, otherwise it has just as much meaning as not saying anything. I still wondered why I say it. It's a habit, I think, for people to ask. We don't want to be rude and not say anything but can't think of anything else to say, so the backup question is that. Some I talk with agree and say we're trying to fill gaps so there's no "awkward pauses" when really silent pauses are ok! A simple smile, hug or "Hi!" will suffice in most circumstances. I don't know if anyone besides me has felt like most the time people expect you to answer with "good". Obviously there are times where things shouldn't be shared, but I think more times than not we all just need someone who cares and will take time to listen.

Just something that's been on my mind. I've had lots of time to think about it. :)

I don't know if it's because my body is recuperating from the overwhelming emotional day on the 14th, but this past week has felt so surreal to me. It's so weird, it's the best I can explain it. Besides yesterday, I've felt little to no emotion since then. Maybe one of our bodies coping mechanisms? This happens off and on. Weirdest feeling.

Well, I sure love you sweet girl of mine.




Lisa R.D. said...

Thanks for these good insights... I feel the same way you do, and I really do try to only ask how people are if I have the interest and desire to know how they are... but like you said, it's such a habit that it usually just comes out anyway... so I guess I am working on the sticking around and listening part. Loved these thoughts!