When my Mom died, then my Daddy, then my own breast cancer came on the heels of a challenging auto-immune disease, these were times I remember saying I was “fine” but I really wasn’t.
I don’t think it was because people didn’t want to know or weren’t willing to listen. It may just have been because I didn’t even know how to ask for help.
In saying “FINE” to others, on the inside I was really saying:
but don’t know how to ask.”
Once a pastor pointed out that when wheat grows, the topmost part of the stalk called the head, becomes larger and heavier as it matures and ripens. When the head of the stalk is so heavy it is bowed down, it is ready for harvest.
People grow and mature also. But what makes their heads bow down is when they have a lot on their mind or on their heart. Just looking for that prompts me to ask how they’re doing.
Then when they look up, I can see in their face if they look tired, worn out or discouraged. Often their posture and face will give away what their words do not. So now when someone tells me “I’m fine,” I take time to go deeper.
I may offer something specific, like bringing a meal, or babysitting, or going out together for a cup of coffee. But even if none of those seem to be a good fit, I can call on God to meet their needs in ways I cannot. So I always ask “How can I pray for you?”
And then I do.
You could too.
“Carry each other’s burdens…” Galatians 6:2