Everyone has saying that they really don't enjoy hearing, maybe even hate or loath. Examples might include one a friend of mine in Idaho wrote about once, "Make it a good one." Personally I like that one and have said it on numerous occasions. Now, whenever I am tempted to say it, I pause and before I can get it out, the clerk says it to me. I am trying to remember to adapt it and say, "Make it great!"
For me, one such phrase might be, "Have a nice day." Usually I just smile, but once in a while my sarcastic side (shock, shock, I do have one) comes out and I say something like, "Well, I wasn't going to, but since you insist, I guess I will."
The interaction I have the most difficulty with is, "What's new?" When I am asked that, I feel so much pressure to come up with an answer. I wonder first off, "Do they really want to know?" After all, all I am doing is buying six screws and finish washers to fix a sign. Is any new items in my life really of interest to this person whose name I only know because of a name tag and won't likely see again for weeks, or an hour when I figure out I forgot something.
I sometimes have been known to offer one of these less than stellar answers:
- At my age, there is nothing new.
- Well, you know, it is just another day in paradise. (I have no idea how that fits, but I still say it. assuming it is like "How's your day?")
- Nothing, but Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun.
- Nope, same old, same old. (This is my default and I regret it very time it comes out of my mouth.)
Part of the problem I have with this question is that it is usually disingenuous. Why think of a real answer to a non-real question? Yet, a bigger problem is really a guilt thing on my side. I want there to be something new, something exciting about my day to day life. Lately, I let people who don't really want to know, know that I am going to be the grandfather of twin boys. And they are children 6 and 7! I have heard, "That nice." "Well, congratulation." "Ugh, wow." and a series of other not sure what to say answers. See, I don't like the question because it is hard to answer. Most of the 'new' stuff in life is not all that exciting or wonderful.
That brings me to my spiritual journey as well. Sometimes I need someone (or several someones) to ask me the same question. A minister friend asked me the other day, "What are you reading right now?" The answer was nothing. I gave up on a book a week or so before and hadn't settled on another read, but I didn't want to admit that. So I told him what I had just quit and where I might be going next and hoped for the best. He suggested a book or two and I was home safe.
I really want there to be some new things in my spiritual life. I want to have an answer to that question, even if it isn't ask. Maybe the new is an insight from God's Word. I get those often as I prepare for sermons and studies. Maybe the new comes from seeking God and finding answers to question that I have. Maybe the new is understanding a brother or sister and how their interactions with God apply to me. Maybe the new is a song, or devotional thought, or a Bible verse that I have previously overlooked. (It amazes me how they sneek verses I have never read before into the Bible, or seem to.) I know His compassion is new every morning, I just want to be reminded of that.
I am aware that the three or four people who actually read this will now, for fun as much as anything, be asking me what is new. They better be ready, cause I might just have a real answer for a less than real question.
So, "WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?"