Monday, March 4, 2013

How Are You...Don't Ask, If you Don't Care!

I went  to the doctor today, I was sitting in the waiting room and I was people watching. There was a young girl maybe twenty or twenty one. She was crying silently. I made eye contact with her on purpose. I wanted to smile at her.I wanted her to know that even though I did not know her and may never see her again, I cared. She looked at me and did the most unbelievable thing, she came over to me. I moved over and she sat down. I went ahead and spoke first, "Are you okay?" She looked at the tissue balled up in her small hand and said, "My cancer is back." I was honestly shocked. I mean I wanted to let her know I cared but I wasn't too sure I wanted to know what was wrong. I mean once you know there is a certain amount of accountability isn't there? I probably won't see her again but I will never forget her.

We started talking and she old me that her mother had passed from cancer when she was 40. I asked her what therapies had she undergone, what type of cancer, what was next in her treatment and so on. She answered each question in between sobs and heavy breathing. My heart was breaking for her. I felt like I needed to connect with this woman. Even though I initially smiled because I wanted her to see a friendly face, it was if God wanted me to smile at her. I continued the conversation now totally prepared to become a part of her life. The nurse called her name and before she stood up she asked, "Can we exchange numbers?" I couldn't find a pen fast enough. Then she said something that brought tears to my eyes, "Thank you for listening and being so sincere. Most people really don't care what your going through but you really do." I stood up and we hugged. As she walked away I felt the tears coming. Her last sentence said so much to me. I knew what it was like to feel like people really didn't care. I was so glad to have been there in that moment. To offer a sincere shoulder to someone that was suffering.

I understand that the words "how are you feeling" are words we are trained to use. We are taught that we say hello and then follow up with how are you doing. The thing is nobody ever tells us to be sincere. Sincerity  is a very important quality. It is the thing that makes "how are you feeling" more than a stock question. When sincerity is there the question can be life changing because the answer could lead to an open and honest conversation. It can take you and the other person into a conversation that may have never happened otherwise. Sincerity is what I call gold. It's valuable, rare, and beautiful. If you can find it.

I will admit I use to get nervous when someone asked me how I felt. I wasn't sure if they really wanted to know soIi wasn't sure how to answer. I started responding like this "Oh I'm okay, just taking it one day at a time." That says a whole lot of nothing. But it does offer an answer. not a sincere one though.

When you ask someone how they are feeling be prepared to hear the answer. Don't ask them and then walk off. Don't ask them and then hurry them away by saying, "well you look good.". We will Never impose our illness on you. most people with any kind of illness would prefer it if the answer was short and sweet, But we know that our honest and sincere answer is not short or sweet most of he time.

Being sick sucks! We struggle with so much each and everyday. We don't want anyone to feel obligated to ask how we are, But we would appreciate it if you do decide to ask how we are please be sincere, Or simply don't ask at all. Once you ask, you have a responsibility to listen to the answer. You are now accountable for knowing how I feel. So when your sister,brother, or friend says "Have you talked to Val?" "How is she doing?"you will give a sincere answer because you asked me a sincere question.



  1. that was so are incredible

  2. Thank you Cindy :) I am blessed to have so many opportunities to show people love. <3