Wednesday, March 31, 2010

“fine, thank you. and you?”

it’s no profound observation that the "how are you?" question is often not really a request for an update on someone’s status. for that we have facebook and twitter, where every fleeting thought, however trivial, can be presented to the world as “breaking news”. as a language guy, i accept the fact that “how are you?” functions largely as verbiage that greases the social machinery. and so "fine" is an acceptable answer; contact with another has been made, their presence has been acknowledged, even if only in cursory fashion.
well, yeah, i’m a linguist, but i’m also one of those the-glass-is-half-empty people. so it’s no wonder that i’ve come to believe that “fine” is really just superficial, and that a truly “authentic” answer to “how are you?” consists of something more along the lines of:
"do you really want to know?"
"hmmmm…could be better."
“don’t ask!”
the desire for “authenticity” results in me adopting a “Saint Eyore” persona and perpetually presenting myself as being “under the pile” of life. left unchecked, my own particular brand of “breaking news” can be a real downer.
so i was thinking about this yesterday and came to a realization:

i surrendered to Jesus on 23 sep 1971. today it will be 14068 days since that event.
14068 sunrises; 14068 mornings that his mercies have been new.
14068 days with their own arrays of anxieties that i’ve worried over; 14068 days of worries that God has taken care of and been faithful to me in.
14068 days, not one of which has passed without either sweet, bland or bitter awareness and acknowledgement of God’s presence with me; 14068 days in which God has never dismissed me.
14068 days of exposure to his Word thru book or sermon or memory or gracious face of his family.
during each of these 14068 days i've sinned against God and man at least 7 times; and in each of these 14068 days i've received forgiveness for those sins 7 times over and then some.
the transitory up-and-mostly-down blips of my emotional condition pale in comparison to God’s goodness to me over the long haul. as much as i might like to believe it, i’m really NOT in the cross-hairs of life. quite the contrary.
so then, “how am i?” hmmm…now that i think about it, very fine, thank you. and you?