I'm fine, and you?

I remember the first time I saw a movie set.  It was an old west town with tall facades of a saloon, general store and sheriff’s office.  I was enthralled when I realized that behind these believable painted walls was a mish mosh of 2 x 4’s supporting those walls and…well not much more.  It didn’t really matter what was on the inside, because all the movie goers would ever see was the outside.

The reality is, we’re all trying to keep up appearances.  We post only flattering pictures of ourselves on Instagram and Facebook, and make sure to untag ourselves from those bad angle pics our friends tag us in.  We post pictures of our great days, but not the days that include tears.  People ask how we are and we say “Fine, and you?”  Often unbeknownst to ourselves, we are working hard to keep up a facade, a mask that gives the impression that we couldn’t be better, we’re doing just fine.  Well, to quote a well known TV psychologist “How’s that working for ya?”

Now, I have to be honest, I can be an expert at making things look fine and dandy on the outside while I’m really crumbling away on the inside.  I can be a master of small talk, making sure that I never have to answer any in depth questions about how I’m REALLY doing.  But, you know what?  Lately I have come to realize that I kind of hate the small talk that is required to keep people from seeing what condition your heart is really in.  Often the impersonal exchanges about kids, jobs, homes and the latest Target sale can take the place of really getting honest with someone.  

I have this burning desire to talk to people about their deepest, darkest fear, or what they’re most passionate about.  I don’t want to know HOW the person is as much as I want to know WHAT that person is really about.  What do they stand for, what’s important to them, and what is their biggest dream, or even, what’s their greatest struggle at the moment.  That’s where we get real.  That’s where those facade walls start to come down, and we are able to let someone else see the mess we are really dealing with.  That’s where the exhaustion of keeping up appearances melts away, and we can rest in knowing that we can be heard and understood. 

Our lives are made up of seconds, minutes, days, months and years, that sadly seem to go too fast.  Sunsets that fade sooner than you’d like.  Children that grow faster than you could imagine, and people who die far sooner than we would like.  I am tired of wasting those moments chatting about the weather.  I want the rest of my seconds, minutes, days, months and years to count, don’t you? 

I’ve challenged myself, and now I challenge you to get honest, get real and get invested in someone else’s life.  Look outside of yourself and see where God can use you in the life of another person who is hiding behind their facade of perfection.  Or maybe, it’s your turn to come out from behind your movie set of a life.  Go on now, start breaking down those fake walls, you don’t need them anymore.