How are YOU doing?

“So how are you and what are you doing these days?”  A seemingly simple and innocent question from a friend I hadn’t seen in a few months.

I want to yell, “DOING???  What am I DOING??   I’m Road Runner running straight off the cliff and not realizing it!  I’m Charlie Brown constantly falling flat trying to kick the football!   I’m like the psycho squirrels in my back yard, frantically spinning around, more than a little confused about which way is up!”

Fortunately I catch myself, realizing this might not be an appropriate answer, especially since we’re in the middle of a crowded Starbucks and I’d probably start crying and that would be ugly.

Instead I smile and answer confidently, “Oh everything’s good!  I’m doing a variety of ministry stuff…Thankful for family and friends…” Which is true as far as it goes, but certainly gives a different impression than my first answer!

Have you ever felt like everyone else has their life together with a master plan complete with long and short range goals and is right on track doing meaningful work on the highway to success?

I was thinking about this as I rode through my neighborhood the other day.  I love my neighborhood.  It’s kind of a cross between Mayberry (remember the old Andy Griffith show?) and Stars Hollow (remember Gilmore Girls?).

Every morning very early, I either walk (when the snow is blowing), or ride my bike down Glenhurst, over to Huntington, right on 38th, left on Joppa to 39th to Raleigh to Starbucks where Cory starts my drink before I’m in the door.

I ride past Stanley the dog (named after the Hockey cup), who is always sitting outside keeping watch over his corner of the world,

neighbors sitting on their front porch with coffee, the house with the picket fence , the one with the window boxes that will soon be heaped with pumpkins and gourds as the season changes…

If I ride through my neighborhood in the humid summer evenings I hear dads mowing lawns, kids out playing on a slip and slide, parents on Adirondack chairs chatting over the squeals of their kids.  As dusk falls I love the smell of hamburgers on the grill, and seeing into a lighted house where a young girl practices piano in a bay window.

How much is my neighborhood like me?  Like you?

What’s going on behind the Capra-esque (It’s a Wonderful Life reference 🙂 ) façade? Is it as good as it looks or is there loneliness, and despair lurking?

Are there people just waiting for someone to ask “How are you doing, really?

Recently I had to write a profile describing who I am and what I do for a class I’m involved in.  As I read over it, it was like my neighborhood.

Everything I wrote was true (like the answer I gave my friend in Starbucks), but it gave a picture of a totally together woman with an idyllic life and that is so not true of me!  It didn’t reflect any of the brokenness, or insecurity or pain that I wrestle with.  Now here’s the thing…I was writing this for a small group of 5 who are in ministry.  This was a safe and appropriate place to share a little more deeply and authentically.  If I had, would the others have breathed a deep sigh of relief and jumped into a more meaningful life-giving dialog?

Do you ever feel like everyone else has it all together?                                                 

Are there places you appropriately and honestly share who you are or are you always in “image management” mode?

Do you have a friend that you might call today and ask, “How are you doing? Really?”


  1. I’m caught in the word ‘appropriate’ here. You used it twice, and both times I thought, ‘I wonder what she means by that’. Maybe it caught me because you said ‘appropriately and honestly’ and to me, heart-felt honesty isn’t always proper, tidy, well-timed, etc. Maybe it’s because I’m the girl who cries in Starbucks regularly, and the tears help me get beyond my mind, and words, into my heart, and cleanses my perspective. Appropriate? Not to the newspaper reading latte-sippers, probably. Honest? Yes. Healing? Very.
    Loved your post. Always do.

  2. Brookie, I LOVE your tender heart and honest emotion. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Any time you want to do coffee with tears, I’m there 🙂

  3. That was fun! I love the taste of your neighborhood!

  4. How are you doing, REALLY? I love you through and through…hope you already KNOW THAT!!!!!

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