It seems to me that whenever I ask someone “how ya doing” the response usually includes “oh I’m so busy.” If the holidays aren’t enough to get “our busy” going consider all the distractions of everyday life…. emails, texts, appointments, traffic, run here run there, chauffeur the kids, play dates and of course endless to-do lists. How many of us add accomplishments to our lists that weren’t there originally just to feel that we actually got something done. Can I see a show of hands, please?
It seems to me that we have forgotten that we are human beings not human doings. How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves and to our children. Whatever happened to a world in which kids got muddy, got dirty, and heaven forbid bored? We seem hell bent on stressing out not only ourselves but our children too.
What happened to a world in which we can sit with the people we love and have slow, thoughtful conversations about the state of our heart and soul. Conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill. How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?
The columnist Omid Safi writes “in many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask someone how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal? What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry the author of The Little Prince puts it this way:
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
How’s your haal?
The most valuable things in life cannot be seen with the naked eye: love, friendship, hope, integrity, trust, compassion. Our eyes enable us to read our endless to-do lists, but only our hearts retransform us into human beings from human doings.
So, if you’re not too busy this Christmas and are lucky enough to run into Jesus be prepared for he’ll probably ask you “Kayfhallik.” And if you’re really brave you might ask Jesus the same.