Updated: Apr 8, 2020
One day I overheard my daughter greeting her friend on the phone with the question, “What’s good?” and I remember thinking it was an interesting way to greet someone. I am not sure how sincere my answer would be if someone was to ask me this question. I would probably say something like, “ Everything is great, God is good!”. “What’s good?” implies that the person sending the message already knows how you're doing and it only gives you the space to talk about the things that are going well in your life instead of the things that are not. Given that question, it is easy to feel that we don’t have the time, space, or the right to tell others that we are not okay.
While I've personally never been greeted with, "what's good" I couldn't tell you how often I'm asked “how are you?”. When asked, my usual response is, "I'm fine, how are you?" and I'd get the same in return. This question is different from “what’s good” because it doesn't assume your circumstance and leaves more room for you to provide an honest response. Today, however, asking someone, “how are you” is more of a formality than a way of sincerely asking about someones day. How often have you've been asked "how are you ?" and been sincere in your response? When we say "I'm fine" is that how we truly feel?
What if instead of asking "what’s good" or “how are you” we ask each other "what's real"? These are three very different questions. If given this question, I would ask myself if the other person actually has the time to listen. What's real with me is that I am not fine all the time, sometimes I get stressed and overwhelmed and I have trouble making time for myself. I pretend that I'm not tired when I am actually exhausted. Yes, God is always good but that doesn't mean that I am always good too. “What’s real” does not assume that you’re inherently good or okay, but instead allows you to be unhappy, struggling, or uncomfortable. “What’s real” is a question that allows you to say how you truly feel instead of providing a response that you think others are expecting or willing to hear. If someone was to ask you “what's real?”, what would you say? If someone wanted to know how you felt, are you prepared to tell them? Can we be real enough with ourselves to be real to each other?