Preparing an Answer to “How are you?”

answerIt can be hard to answer inquiries about life at class reunions Vicki shares her plans for this day.

“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.” (Colossians 4:3)

Do high school yearbook predictions come true? Most likely to succeed, get married, have children, make a million. Did you ever read one that said: Most likely to become disabled? Who would predict that?

Not many attend high school reunions any more. Facebook keeps people connected. Others avoid reunions because they feel their life hasn’t amounted to much and there is nothing to brag about.

So why will I be going to a reunion? My husband and I will be attending my forty-one year high school reunion. Forty-one because I hung around with kids in a grade lower than mine since many in my class abused drugs.

I miss my friends. We’ve kept in contact once a year through Christmas letters. I yearn to spend time with them once again. It’ll be nice to see the old gang. I wonder what the opening questions will be.

“So, what have you been up to lately?”
“How’s your family?”
“How’s your job?”
“What’s new?”

Pretty sure no one will ask, “So, what disease do you have?”

Most of my symptoms are invisible. Should I hide them? Pretend everything is just wonderful? Paint a Norman Rockwell picture of my life? Isn’t that what people do at reunions?

Not me. I’ve decided to prepare for the reunion. Yes, that means buying a dress for the occasion. More importantly, it means planning a response. I want to seize the opportunity to give my testimony. Not just share facts about my life.

Maybe I’ll say something like: “At the peak of my career, I had to leave teaching. Symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) made it impossible for me to do the job. But God has used my MS to give me a new purpose in life. And to fill me with gratitude. I’m so thankful I can still see and walk. I don’t take that for granted. MS gives me the opportunity to witness God’s faithfulness every day.”

Maybe I should come prepared with leading questions of my own: “What’s been your greatest challenge? . . . What’s your life all about?. . . How have you changed since high school?”

How would you answer those questions?

Prayer: Dear Father, Help me use the chains of my illness for Your glory. Prepare me to tell of Your faithfulness and love. Give me the words to proclaim Your power in my life. Help me be alert to opportunities to praise Your name. Thank You for my illness because others will see the divine peace You give me in the midst of an uncertain future. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the Author:
Vicki understands special needs as a patient, parent, and professor. She has had multiple sclerosis since 1993. Her 31 year old son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She’s taught special education as a teacher, administrator, and adjunct professor. Through her blog, she reaches out to other mothers of children with mental illness. http://mentalillnessmom2mom.net/ Vicki wrote a picture book about bullying: “Heart Eyes: Beth and the Bullies.” You can find out more about that book by visiting her Heart Eyes website: http://www.hearteyes.net

What other gathering, life event, or activity provides an opportunity for you to share your testimony?

I love, love the lyrics to this song, “”You Don’t Have to Bear Your Burdens Alone” with Jessica King and Jason Crabb. How did they know this is how it feels when you are ill? Well, because as much as we may want to think we are unique and no one can understand our pain, people do understand many other kinds of pain. And we can all rely on Jesus no matter what we are going through. May it bless you. -Lisa

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2 thoughts on “Preparing an Answer to “How are you?”

  1. Oh, the most dreaded of questions!! I never know how to answer without seeming to either whine and complain (when I have so much to be thankful for) or blow off my illness (and then others think I’m “cured”). I really love your approach to this Vicki, and I’m going to start right now, preparing my next answer. Enjoy your reunion! ❤

  2. Dear Shelly,
    I still struggle answering that “most dreaded of questions.” I too feel like I’m whining and complaining if I answer honestly. I’m often conflicted. I know many people ask how I’m doing because they sincerely want to know how I’m doing (so they can pray specifically for me). But it still feels like I’m complaining. My answers are probably similar to yours: a list of the current aches and pains, sorrows and losses…mixed with praises and gratitude.
    I chucked when I read “I really love your approach to this Vicki” because I may be on the right track with this approach, but don’t have a clue what I’ll be saying yet! Guess God wants me to trust Him. I’m guessing my responses would differ depending on who asks me that question (if they ask me THAT question at the reunion).
    Together in His grip,
    Vicki

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