How are you?
What do you say when someone asks you that question? I have a range of one word answers that I seem to cycle through. “Fine.” “Good.” “Great.”
The second half of our Iowa vacation was spent in Des Moines at the Downtown Hilton. Yes, we were roughing it. The hospitality we were extended there was extraordinary. You could not walk past a hotel employee without receiving a friendly greeting. So one morning, as I was on my way to the exercise room / pool / lounge chair, I passed a maid working in the hall. She asked, “How are you?”
Her accent gave it away that English was not her first language. Probably an immigrant. Just a guess, but her life is very likely considerably harder than mine. Especially on that day.
She asked, “How are you?” I answered, “Great.” Then I asked her, “How are you?” Her answer? “Grateful.”
I’ve been thinking about that ever since. Gratitude, always. Cleaning rooms. Enjoying a lazy day. Enduring something real hard. “How are you?” “Grateful.”
Duane Anders sends several of us clergy a text each Sunday morning. It is kind of a “pep talk” to encourage us as we prepare for worship. Yesterday he included this from Greg Boyle:
Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it.
That hotel maid was probably poor. She cleans all those beautiful rooms and then goes home to her hovel, probably with little hope that her economic situation will ever improve very much. But she is grateful. And I am in awe.
Let’s start this new week with gratitude. And when someone asks you how you are, try saying “Grateful.”