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About Half Dead
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A few days ago, I decided to do some shopping early in the morning before going to work. I like it then because it’s quieter and people, including myself, aren’t yet tired and worn down by the day’s activities. Well, except for the Little Debbie guy.

Sitting Indian style on the floor, a man who was probably fifty-something, arranged boxes of various varieties of Little Debbie snacks on the shelves.

Reaching for a box of granola bars to suffice as my breakfast, I said, “Good morning. How are you?”   I confess, I wasn’t really all that interested in his answer. I was just delivering the usual rote dialogue that we all say as we briefly pass another human being in our path.

“Well, I’m about half dead. And it’s getting worse every day.”

Oh, dear. Was he talking to me? Half dead? Getting worse every day? I didn’t ask for that. I was just, you know, being nice. Or was I? I mean, how nice is it really to ask how someone is if you don’t want to know how they really are? Okay, so, yes he was talking to me. And being a courteous human being, I couldn’t just walk away with the follow-up rote response “That’s nice” that I would have delivered had he actually done the decent thing and lied to me.

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” I replied. Then I thought about it and realized that if I was going to be honest, I’d have to agree that I felt about half dead too! So I did! “And I know what you mean.”

“Yeah, this winter is about to kill me. I’m so sick of waking up to more snow and cold, day after day. . .”

Me too, I thought.  “Me too!” I said.

“Oh, I shouldn’t tell people I’m half dead,” he continued, “I just….”

I was coming to life now. “No, that’s okay! I know how you feel,” I added with a growing fervor. “We’ve had the longest winter in years, and you might as well be honest about it.”

I Remembered My Request

Then I noticed that he truly did look rather depressed. So, I remembered my request of God just a short while earlier when I had asked him to help me do at least one good thing that day. Was this it? If so, I didn’t want to blow it.  

“Well, at least it’s February now. We’re getting closer to spring.”

We continued to talk until both of us were feeling a little better than half dead. It was a step in the right direction, anyway. I finally took my box of granola bars and said, “Well, hang in there.”

“Yeah, thanks for listening,” he said and smiled.

Listening. Yes, I guess I did listen. I hadn’t planned on it, but it happened anyway.  But not because of me. It happened because of him. Because he was honest enough to tell me how he really was instead of superficially pretending that everything was peachy.

It makes me think of God. He’s a great listener. Much better than I am. But even God can’t help us if we aren’t honest with him. Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28, 29.  Of course, he already knows how we feel, but when we open up to him and share with him honestly, even if we feel half-dead, he can then bring rest and encouragement to our souls.

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.


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