Her voice quieted, her tone turned serious, she leaned in and she asked three words I had not been in the presence of for a very long time… “How are you?” she asked.
I took a long deep breath and the gates opened.
I had missed the mark in an area of my life and she was one of the only people who knew about it. That one simple question however changed my day. In that one question she gave me the opportunity to turn the months of automatic “I’m fine” replies into the raw brutal truth of where I stood in space.
In the safety of knowing that my answer was a priority to her I told her the truth. She did not minimize my situation – she supported it.
I’ve noticed recently that in this day and age we get so caught up in the nucleus of our own lives that we rarely stop and give the gift of asking this three word question, and more importantly the space of offering people to reply to it.
I think that in some strange way this is what a struggle gives you. It gives you the moment to pause. Pause and realize the importance of moments in time.
In IVF there are many pauses. The time between the unknown and a diagnosis, the time between the diagnosis and the treatment plan, the time right after mixing the medication and using that needle to inject (that is the worst right?! – everyone in the room using needles is permitted to fist pump at this time!), the time between embryo transfer and the pregnancy test (ok the 2WW is even worse than the needles!), the time between the pregnancy test and the first scan…and the list goes on.
But what if we stopped and changed our perspective a bit? What if we stopped and recognized that pause as a gift? In that split second before you reply you have the opportunity to be your most authentic self with your honest reply. Being authentic sometimes means you have to be vulnerable and that can be scary but it is also brave and true strength of the soul.
This week you hold both these gifts in your hands. The gift to another person of asking the question and the gift to yourself of a sincere reply. Each of these comes with a responsibility. I encourage you to take the time to cherish both sides and their unseen values.