More often than not, whenever someone asks me how I'm doing I usually say "Pretty good", without much thought. A uncommitted, unengaging safe reply. I'm neither great, nor horrible. Several years ago I began wondering what would happen if I answered honestly, fully, with how I was honestly doing? "I'm feeling pretty indifferent about life", "I'm depressed more days that not", "I think I might bullwhip my kids with a hose and toothpicks". But I held back, and kept to my safe reply.
“If you truly want honesty, don't ask questions you don't really want the answer to”
What is it that keeps me (or you) from being completely honest with one another? Is it fear? Is it that we don't know our own feelings? Is it that we don't want to "burden" someone with our troubles or problems? Is it shame? I'd venture to say it's most all of these at some point. But while we protect ourselves, we in turn rob ourselves and others from what life is all about. Community. It's through sharing honestly about life that we learn.
I wish someone had told me that raising kids — while tremendous blessing — is a very thankless and exhausting duty. That there is no reward, and sometimes your kids don't turn out at all liked you imagined or hoped. That there will be times when you could nearly kill your kids — and I don't mean that metaphorically, I mean that you really feel that you could harm your kids (you might even daydream, as they fight about the most ridicuously mundane topic; like which of them saw the red convertible first, about swerving the car into oncoming traffic, because yeah, that'll shut them up for good).
I wish someone had told me that there is no such thing as being prepared. I wish someone told me that having great friends is more rewarding than having great things.
I wish someone had told me that marriage is a battle. That there will be times when love is the furtherest thing from what you feel for your spouse. Its the endurance and committment that keep you togther, keep you fighting for what always tries to pull you apart; not the fleeting feelings and heart flutters of a movie love.
I wish someone had told me that the unexpected is all you can expect of the future.
I wish someone told me that what you know about what you believe isn't as important as acting out what you believe.
I wish someone had told me that we are all more alike than we could ever think, that most all of us have had trouble, have been hurt, have immense pain. That we feel inadequate and unprepared and lost most all of the time. That I could be more honest, without being a burden, without fearing the consequences, without thinking I'll alienate everyone I know because they'll reject me.
This is why honesty connects us, educates us, helps us grow and bond. Take that chance and answer the question honestly next time someone asks "How are you?"