"Are You OKAY?"

About two months ago, while on travel for work, I called Caden to check on him. After our normal “I miss you” back and forth, Caden asked me, “Mommy are you okay?” I told Caden I was okay, to which he responded “Are you sure you’re okay? You don’t sound like your usual happy self.” Of course, that brought a burst of laughter as my call to check-in on my 8-year-old turned into him checking on me. Even miles apart, without seeing my face, my 8-year-old could detect that something was off with me.

I was shocked. I interacted with lots of people that day: in-person, over the phone, and even via skype. No one detected that something was off with me, except my 8-year-old son. I had spent all day learning about implementation science. I was sleep deprived due to the time difference. I had a traumatic experience the evening before. I was physically and emotionally exhausted by the time I got on the phone with Caden and he was able to detect that.

How is it that an 8-year-old could detect that something was off with me and those closest to me couldn’t? The truth is I wasn’t just exhausted that day, I’ve been exhausted for some time. It seemed like the winds of life was tossing me to and from. I was experiencing heartache. I was coping with the recent loss of a loved one. My reputation was under attack. My job was threatened by someone who was unable to handle my recent promotion. I was struggling with not allowing other’s opinions of me to confine me to a box they created to make themselves comfortable. It was a hard time. Much like the psalmist, my tears became my food day and night (Ps. 43:3). I was crying more than I was smiling. I wasn’t in a good place. Usually, when someone asked me how I’m doing I would say, “I’m good” or “I’m okay”. “I’m good” meant that all is well but “I’m okay” was my cry for someone to delve deeper into how I was really feeling. 9 out of 10 times that never happened.

When is the last time you’ve stopped to check on someone close to you? I don’t mean the usual “Hey gurl! What’s up with you?” I’m talking about putting aside what’s going on in your life and sincerely asking like Caden did, “Are you sure you’re okay?” And waiting for a response. It amazes when people ask me how I’m doing and walk off or switch topics before I could even respond. We are in such a self-aggrandized age when we are only concerned with what is going on in our own lives and we miss the fact that all around us many are dying spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Check in on someone today and ask, “Are you okay?”

If you are the one who is not okay, I encourage you to reach out to someone (trustworthy and caring) and say to them, “I’m not okay. I need to talk.”

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “HOW CAN I HELP?”

Romans 15:1-2 (MSG)

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