It’s like the golden, omni-permissible lie.
Church, school, work, home, bar, club, vacation, playground…
This lie is widely accepted. It forms a pivotal foundation of modern culture.
I understand it… I do. I myself use it often. Sometimes the reason for the lie is simply… I don’t want you in my business. Whether you’re a known gossip, whether I suspect you don’t actually care, whether you tend to use my weaknesses against me, whether I’m insecure, whether I do not deem it a wise move… for better or worse, whatever the reason, I don’t want you in my business. And so, almost before I can even bother wrapping it in believable credence, “I’m fine” spews out of my mouth with ingrained tones of assurance.
How are you?
Overall we desire to be a people unmoved by personal circumstance. We like to consider ourselves a thick skinned, hardy folk who can be vanquished and broken down by nothing less than a nuclear explosion. It’s that inner desire to leave not only a lasting legacy, but a worthy one.
Shannon L. Alder says,
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
Naturally we all would like the etching to be of light and the stories shared ones of positivity.
Yet and still I ask… why? Why lie? Why continue the effort of building a culture so fixated on shading the discernment of the next man that we ourselves are subjected to misery? Afterall, that is what is happening. Saying “I’m fine” when in fact you are not, suggests that you are not really interested in becoming well, but in convincing the outside world that you are. Little Johnny’s parents have no money and every day he starves, yet when he goes to play with his friends he smears mud on his face to give the appearance of devouring a spectacularly delectable bar of chocolate.
You are little Johnny.
I am little Johnny.
Smeared in dirt to sell a lie we would do better to disperse with.
Okay, okay Josh (I hear you say), that’s all fine and dandy but I STILL don’t want everybody all in my business!!
And that’s fine.
Admission of not being fine does not mean you must disclose the specifics.
But at least admit it.
There are so many hurting people in the world. So many dealing with traumas, and tragedies, and just the everyday burdens of life. They work so hard to keep their smile in place. To convince everyone around them that they are fine. But every build up requires release. They pay a price for that smile. Promiscuity, excessive drinking, drug use, physical abuse (to themselves or others), negligence, laziness… a price is paid for their smile. For their fine. Yet if people would begin to admit that no, in fact, they are very much NOT fine, it releases the folks around you to do the same. And it begs the question…
What price are YOU paying?
Think about it.
And perhaps you’re one of those people who doesn’t really care twopence about what the world is going through. Struggles happen to everybody and they need to deal with theirs just like you deal with yours. Fine. I can’t do anything about that. But you still ought to admit it for your own sake. Every time you tell that lie you chip away at yourself and store the fragment in a little jarred off section in your heart. Do it for long enough and you will find yourself longing to do something… big… dramatic… to shatter the jar and be a whole person again.
Every flood was once a single drop.
The analogies are endless… you eat and drink right? And then… you defecate and urinate. You don’t hold it indefinitely and claim that you’re just “not hungry.” It’s unhealthy. Release is required. Same principle. Stop claiming that you’re “fine” when you’re really not. You’re constipating yourself and making yourself sick in a world full of sick people. Release it. Say you’re not fine.
“No legacy is so rich as honesty.” ~William Shakespeare