How Are You?

by gary-foote on June 11, 2011

“How are you?” Seems like a simple enough question, but it’s one that many of us might struggle answering. When I travel as a Catholic youth speaker or am hired as a Catholic youth ministry mentor, I ask that question often. I was also known by the teens in my youth ministry program as the guy who asked “that” question. I never really thought much of it until after working for four years with a youth named Joseph. Before Joseph and I parted ways as he grew up (and so did I) he looked at my square in the eyes and said, “Gary Foote, I’m going to miss you asking me how I am doing. No matter how good or bad my week went, I knew that I could always count on hearing those words come out of your mouth and that you would listen to how I was doing.” As Joseph shared his gratitude (and I started to tear up), other teens started to chime in and tell me that those words always meant so much to them too. I saw the question as a way to reach out to the teens, to meet them where they were at, and hopefully lead them closer to Christ. Little did I know that it had so much of an impact on so many of them. Joseph taught me the first lesson about those words, “Never underestimate the value of reaching out to someone and genuinely caring for them.” I was always hoping that by asking some how they were doing that we could eventually move towards an opportunity of deeper conversation. In reality, the conversion process was already taking place just in the fact that I tried to meet them where were at without judgment as Christ would.


The second lesson I learned about the question of “How are you” came from a friend of mine who also works in Catholic youth ministry. David and I were out to lunch when he asked, “Hey brother, how are you?” I started rambling off, “Well, things have been really busy at the parish. The teens have been…” All of a sudden, David interrupted me. “No, brother, I asked how you were doing, not about your ministry. We can get to that later.” I was shocked. I responded, “Well David, the ministry I’m involved with is a big part of my life so it is a big part of how I am doing.” David stopped me, “I get that Gary. But your ministry is not who you are. I want to know how you, a son of God, not Gary the guy who works in youth ministry, are doing.” I was taken aback because it had been a long time since I separated the two. Of course on the surface I believed that what you do professionally doesn’t define who you are, but in reality it had been a long time since I sat with just Gary a “son of God.” David helped me to be mindful that I needed to take the time to just sit with God and discover once again who I was before God. When we come to know who we are in that moment, that is when we can truly be vulnerable and allow our own hearts, minds, and souls to be blessed with the healing and growth they need. God already knows me intimately, but I need to allow Him to show me who I am. He knows me better than I know myself. When I allow Him to ask the question, “How are you,” and I answer honestly, I can come to terms with what’s really happening in life, which eventually will trickle down to the ministry I am blessed to be involved with.


So I ask you, “How are you?” If you’ve been waiting for someone to ask, I’d love to hear (or should I type read) your response. Send me an e-mail or comment on this blog. Most importantly, get in front of God, quiet your heart, and listen for Him to ask you, “How are you?” I guarantee He’s waiting to ask, we just need to be willing to listen and respond.

In Christ,

Gary Foote



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