Every time I go to the grocery store now [which is A LOT with a hungry husband and an equally ravenous 14 month old], I think of a young cashier who I haven’t seen in ages. He took small talk to another level.
How often do we go through the check-out aisle at our local grocery store (or anywhere really) and the conversation goes something like:
Did you find everything you were looking for?
Do you have a [fill in the blank] card?
Do you want to sign up for a [fill in the blank] card?
Gosh, I can’t wait for my break… or Only three more hours until I go home…
Is it still raining? Why is it so hot?
I guess nothing is really wrong with this conversation. And, I’m always on autopilot ready for it. Here’s my store card. Yes, that’s kale. Yep, it’s still raining. But, recently a bright young man behind the cash register asked me how I was doing. Baby Bear was happily clutching on to his Happy Tot cereal, so I responded with, “We’re doing really well, thanks. How about you?”
And, he said in the kindest of ways, “I’m doing great, thanks. But…can I ask why you’re doing so well?”
At first, I had a thought of, Well, that’s an invasive question. But, then I thought, Wow, you care enough to ask such an important question. A question that we ALL should be considering every day. Why are we doing well? Or are we not doing well? And, if not, what’s going on there?
So, I told him. I told him that I appreciated him asking me to think rather than just fire off a surface response. I told him that we had just been to my son’s post-op appointment that day and that he’s recovering well from his surgery. What a thing to be grateful for, right? I told him that I was grateful to have time that evening to make a slow dinner with the groceries he was stacking up in my reusable bags. I told him that I’m doing well because I feel seen and cared about, at home and in my work, and that his question was honest and truly kind.
I’m not sure that young man can understand yet the impact of his question. So simple. But, when someone looks you in the eye and asks you a “Why” question rather than a “yes or no” or a rhetorical one, you have a chance to really pause and think. How often do we all say, “Oh, I’m doing fine…” Or “I’m doing well…” without actually pausing to consider why? And, how often do we say we’re doing fine when...we’re not?
You guys, let’s dig a little deeper within and with others today. Ask yourself, “How am I doing today?” And, then ask why. Consider the answer. Acknowledge why you’re doing well, pay attention if you’re not. Ask others the same with genuine interest - “What’s going well for you today?” “What have you struggled with?” And, be ready to listen to the answer. Questions like these remind us of what we have to be grateful for, that we’re not alone in a struggle, and that we are ultimately completely connected.
With lots of love,