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I lied to a student today. Just after the seventh period, walking through the halls on my way to the copy machine. 

“How are you?” Their smile beamed brightly. 

“Good, how about you?” I retorted. 

“Really, really, good.” They waved, “It was great to see you, Mrs. Ginter. I miss you and your class”

“You too!” I cried out. 

It was a sweet conversation. But honestly, it was a lie. 

I’d just spent the last forty-eight hours fighting pain. I was feeling anything other than, “good”. When you’ve lived with chronic pain for the last five years—pain that doesn’t seem to end despite endless trials and errors of medication, stretching, and solutions, what else do you say?

When Pain Ceases to Exist

Before dealing with persistent physical and mental anguish, I would say that my response to that student’s question would be true. I was happy. Good. Carefree. Lighthearted. Uplifted. Is it impossible to be those things now? To embrace joy amid suffering that doesn’t cease? To rejoice in the face of pain? To see things for as they will be in Heaven and not as they are now?

These are thoughts I grapple with weekly. Sometimes even on a daily, or hourly basis. And it got me thinking. I can’t be the only one who feels this way

Despite feeling alone, I know that I’m not. I know people say they’re “fine” every single day when they aren’t. Myself, my peers, my students, my family included. We ask “How are you?”. Are we really looking for a reply outside of “good,” or “fine”? The majority of us would probably say no. 

It’s too much time, energy, and effort to re-hash the same story over and over again. We’re weary, tired, and honestly wish things were “fine,” “good,” or “great,” and so we say that they are even when that’s the furthest thing from how we feel. At least that’s how I feel. Maybe you can relate?