It is a question I hear often, and every single time my brain gridlocks. The question is asked earnestly. People care. They genuinely want to know how we are doing- each of the kids, our new house, the upcoming holidays, and the status of my grief’s healing process.
I want to honor their question with honesty.
But where to begin? And do they have time for the answers? Are they really just happy to hear we are holding steady or do they want to know more?
In a split second, my mind considers those things before I reply. If it is in passing, they receive a smile and, “we are doing well, thank you.” If there is a window of time for conversation, they might hear various updates.
I guess the problem is that the question is ultimately too broad. Each of us represents layers of life:
Our bodies- healthy, well or somewhere in between
Our life responsibilities- jobs, houses, the chores of caring for the stuff of life, future plans
Our many relationships and their ups and downs
Our mental & emotional stresses & joys
Our soul’s pulse
So, the question, “How are you doing?” needs to be more specific because no single answer accurately represents the whole of me, or you. Maybe some parts of life are great, but others stink. The answers can vary tremendously. Life is always in flux.
When I was five, one sock could be nicely pulled up but the other one down around my ankle (sometimes, miserably down in my shoe!). One up, one down. Life tends to be like that. There always seems to be something to tend to.
For me, any answer I give is easily misread. Saying we are doing well doesn’t mean I am “over grieving” and moving on with this unexpected new life (whatever that means?!).
So, here are some how-we-are-doing highlights from two dimensions of my life:
Biggest news- my oldest daughter is engaged & getting married next summer! Surely, you will be hearing more about this in the months to come, but we are genuinely delighted she is marrying someone so wonderful. We have been praying for him since she was a little girl. John would be smiling.
Just like in many of your families, school/college is challenging and time consuming for all of them. Our third daughter is a high school senior; she is in the midst of college application stress (& we feel her pressure). Pray. Work. Love. (& give back rubs!)
They are becoming adults before my eyes and wowing me with the shift of balance. I am on a train headed back from NYC; typing as I travel. My second daughter lived there for a few weeks last summer so she was my city tour guide- confident, capable, and city savvy. It was so wonderful having her in charge. How the tables have turned since our earlier days in NYC when I pushed her in a stroller! I am really becoming enthralled with this stage of my kids becoming my adult friends.
Our new house is feeling like home, and we are looking forward to spending the holidays there together. There are some areas that still need to be dealt with, but I just work on them when I have the focused time and the energy. There are at least 50 things that make it a wonderful spot for us! I exclaim about them to the kids frequently. All of the hard work to move was worth it. The Lord was so good to place us there.
And, as we have settled into our home, I have found I am settling in too. Quieting down inside. Moving- the anticipation, the decision, the process- it created a lot of angst, but the dust is settling literally & figuratively.
The unwelcome, awkward novelty of being a widowed mom is becoming intuitive and is actually, very rewarding. At first, after John died, it was a reflexive, protective response, but now it is a privilege and joy. I am relishing these last few years (or in my daughter’s case- months) of it being my daily job.
And, that, my reading friends, is a little slice of how we are doing.
May the Lord give you grace to keep on praying, working & loving,
By His daily grace, I am too,