“Hey, how’s it going?” Ordinarily that query leads to a report of life’s details. When asked by one of life’s daily friends, we answer simply, speaking of a work project or a coming trip. But when we’ve just seen someone for the first time in thirty years, “how’s it going?” is a more challenging question. Thirty years of daily life details make for an unwieldy answer. So other categories must be sought.
I just saw this play out last weekend at a reunion of our high school and college youth group. My brother, Kirby, and Sarah and I were in Austin for the first reunion of “Koinonia” since we were all together in the mid 1970s (thanks to Facebook). Now we’re all in our 50s, and a lot has happened in life.
People answered “how’s it going?” in many ways. Most of us showed pictures of family. We described careers and residences. All of us had some sad stories, and some had quite a few – likewise with happy stories. Mixed in with the reports of now were the reminiscences of yore. It was great fun.
It was also instructive. As I’ve thought back on our brief reunion, I’ve realized that some were quite at ease describing a larger trajectory and purpose of life. Their lives with the Lord served as the string for the “pearls” of their stories, and even gave them a means to interpret the harsh turns they had known in life. Others sought to describe the broader sweep of “how’s it going?” with selected details or the trappings of the American dream. That didn’t work so well.
For the last generation scholars have been debating about the validity of “meta-narratives.” Those are the overarching stories by which individuals and groups interpret “how’s it going?” The debates about meta-narratives are complex, and I’m obviously not very conversant.
But I just witnessed a case study in how hard it is to describe “how’s it going?” without a string for the pearls. And the farther I go with the Lord, the more convinced I am that the only string which finally works is our relationship with Jesus. It’s part of what Paul was describing to the Colossians – “in him (Jesus) all things hold together.”
So, “how’s it going?” What would you say?