My first encounter with Elder Hatch was a bit of a shock. In 2005, he approached with a hearty handshake and a jolly “How are you?” Quickly, I responded with the standard yet honest, “Fine and you?” Then he looked me right in the eye and said, “You’re not fine, you’re happy!!”
There I stood a bit confused. Was it a compliment or a rebuke? Yet, somehow I felt really good, even warm. Then came the story presented every time he was introduced, right after he challenged his new friend of course.
“People need to be reminded they are happy, not just fine, sad, or stressed. One day my 4-year-old grandson was fussing red faced at his mother. Pleasantly I intervened, ‘Billy, how are you?’ He looked at me pleadingly wanting to continue the rant. Again I said, ‘Billy, how are you?’ With pursed lips and squinted eyes, he grunted, ‘Happy I guess.’ I had to ask a third time, ‘Now Billy, how are you really, deep inside?’ Softening he looked up and said with a smile, ‘HAPPY!!!’”
Not surprisingly, I watched the central part of the mission change as Elder & Sister Hatch continued to remind everyone, how happy we really were. Everywhere I looked; brighter eyes, softer smiles, and deeper conversations with Happy becoming the new response to, “How are you?”
It is amazed the influence one couple can have with a simple conversation.
To be Happy Try Real Conversation
Life has moved on, with us not being very social for a long time. Well, I guess I could count socializing with wildlife. Our conversations with wildlife heroes always had a deeper element being so impressed with their sacrifice and dedication. Then COVID changed stuff even further, keeping us from people and even our wildlife friends and travels.
Recently, I found myself at a meeting with potential new friends as we emerged from our forced pandemic seclusion. My, was it awkward. It seemed everyone needed to find some validation of their existence, mostly wanting to just share and not listen.
Soon, each needed to best the other with, “Oh really, but I…” instead of “Oh really tell me more…” Our conversation skills were rusty. Our caring motives had become inner focused. The struggle to discover ‘Fine’ let alone ‘Happy’ was obvious.
At one point I wanted to scream, “And this is where you say, Oh really…, You’re kidding…, What happen next…, anything.” I am certain others were feeling the same.
Commitment to be Happy
Last week, I noticed my favorite plaque on the wall. Believe there is goodness in the world.
It’s hard for this hermit, but I am trying out a new commitment. In my small influence, I want to help have meaningful caring happy conversations again. To listen, care, find friendship and even interrupt with, “And this is where you say…”
Bottom line, to help us be happy instead of just fine, sad, or stressed. Thanks to you Elder & Sister Hatch!
Enjoy the day and do some good
Russ Harris loves all things mechanical and making the world a better place, especially for Margrit.