How are you?

As you read through this issue of the MOSAIC, you will hear personal stories, challenges, and reflections about mental health. Canada.ca defines mental health as, « the state of your psychological and emotional well-being. It is a necessary resource for living a healthy life and a main factor in overall health. It does not mean the same thing as mental illness. However, poor mental health can lead to mental and physical illness. Good mental health allows you to feel, think and act in ways that help you enjoy life and cope with its challenges.

As Free Methodists, our ethos includes a strong desire to be connected to God and each other. In this spirit, I have been checking in with my friends and family and asking the question “How are you?” I realized that those three words have woven themselves into the very fabric of our interactions with each other. In fact, I have been caught responding to the words “how are you” before I’ve even been asked the question. What are we really asking when we use those three words? What should we be asking? How does that tie into our MOSAIC theme?

In some ways, I believe we have lost the true meaning of the words “how are you?” Many of us use them as a general greeting when on the phone or while walking through a room of people. I confess that I am guilty of those actions and, lately, I have been reminding myself that I need to slow down, listen and respond when I ask someone how they are. It sends the wrong signal about your availability to listen when you don’t even break your stride while waiting for their response!

This past year has been difficult for everyone. We are all feeling in some form the effects of separation from family members, having to physically distance from everyone who is not in our immediate household, coping with lockdowns, and for many of us living and working from home. I think it is safe to say that the question is not, who among is experiencing less than optimal mental health,” but how are we all experiencing less than optimal mental health?” Now more than ever, we need to slow down, wait for the real answer, and really listen when we ask someone, “How are you?”

I’d like to leave you with a scripture that I have been contemplating in the last few days. It’s a great reminder to everyone, but especially to anyone who might be struggling. We are not alone and our Father has promised to be there with us:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Lisa Howden
Director of Communication

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