Some years ago I had this dream. I don’t think it was about a real person, but it was some sort of a pastor or elder of a church. Anyway in this dream I had just met him and asked “How are you?” And as most people do, he answered “Fine, thanks.” But for some reason I was not satisfied with the answer. Repeated the question several times, and he got apparently more and more annoyed. “How are you REALLY?” I asked. I remember I was thinking to myself in my dream “Why am I doing this? Why don’t I just stop asking? Why am I bothering him?” But the urging in me was too big for me to be able to stop.
But at some point this guy suddenly stopped saying he was just fine, and started telling me the truth. I don’t remember the things he said. But it could be that he was stressed out, had some pain or sickness, some worry or felt down or had problems in his family. I dont remember.
My point with this story is that we sometimes should dare being “bothersome” to someone. Because sometimes that the best way we can show that we really want to bother with their problems. And that we actually care about their well being.
Sometimes we may ask “How are you” to someone and get “Just fine” as an answer, but at the same time have a feeling that it is not all true. The reason for only getting a “Just fine” can vary. At least here in Norway it is almost impolite to answer anything else but some variant of fine, good or similar. At worst it any bad report should be of minor things, unless something is so evidently not right that a positive report would be an obvious lie. Other times the one we are asking simply do not want to bother anyone else with their own problems, whatever what the problems may be. These two factors were the two things happening in my dream I believe.
Yes, there can be other reasons as well. For example you may not know the one asking well enough for you to want to share about your problems, or maybe just want to get over with the pleasantries to get onto whatever business you have to do.
Still. There are those who are not “Just fine”. Some of your very own friends might have more to say than they dare telling you outright. The question to us all is: Do you want to bother with them as much to figure out what is bothering them that you might be bothersome to get them to tell? Do we have the courage and boldness needed to be a true and good friend to a friend of ours who may need our help? Who knows how much closer a friend we may get if we just dare going just a little further than just accepting a “Just fine, Thanks”?
God, help us to see those of our friends that are in pains, troubles or worries. Give us courage and wisdom to find a way to help and to see those friends that need our help. Help us to love them as you have loved us. In the name of Jesus. Amen.