This seems like a silly question to ask right now, but it is the most important question we can ask each other as many of us are living 24/7 at home off our regular routines and schedules. We are isolated, lonely, scared, bored, etc. Most of us are not “fine” right now. I’ve found myself texting “how are you?” to friends more than ever.
I’ve had the idea of this blog for over three years. It came to me when I was still living in Seattle. At the time, I had a kind neighbor who would ask, “how are you?” in such a way that made me want to crumble into tears and tell her everything. She would look right at me as she was asking, maintaining a serious look on her face, like a therapist might do. She asked the question in a way I had never experienced. Most of the time when we ask this question, we are smiling and our voices pitch upwards, as if to imply we only want to hear the good, happy stuff. She asked like she wanted to know all of it, good and bad.
Not knowing her that well and being mostly guarded when it comes to my darker emotions, I generally said I was okay, all the while holding back tears. I wonder how she would have reacted if I had crumbled into tears and told her I was sad, lonely and homesick. I bet she would have handled it with aplomb, kindness and understanding. I kind of wish I had. I would have felt better.
A sweet lady who I met through my industry and who eventually became a friend and a client passed away 3-1/2 years ago. Her death was sudden and unexpected. She was the kind of person who spent time with you without regard for what she might receive in return. That is a rare person, and that is the person we all need right now.
As we spend these weeks in relative isolation, think of people with whom you would like to reconnect and have meaningful conversations with. Beyond trying to make sense of what’s happening, I crave good connection. Surely, I am not alone in that desire.
Now is a great time to make a call and ask, “How are you?”
Last year, I read Mitch Albom’s book “The Next Person You Meet in Heaven,” his follow-up to “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.” I loved it, and I recommend it. His books are thoughtful and poignant. While he has many great books, now would be a good time to read this one and receive encouragement from it. This passage is especially hopeful,
“We fear loneliness, but loneliness itself does not exist. It has no form. It is merely a shadow that falls over us. And just as shadows die when light changes, that sad feeling can depart once we see the truth. What’s the truth? That the end of loneliness is when someone needs you. And the world is so full of need.”
Wishing you good health and safety. Blessings to you and yours.