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How are you doing?

The most basic of questions now has a new meaning. At least where I live. You ask a shop keeper it and he asks you. Same with neighbors, teachers, folks at church, bank tellers, waitresses, and pretty much everyone I come into contact around town.

How are you doing?” It’s a basic, friendly question with a new double meaning. Meat and potatoes midwest meets Wall Street. 

People are really asking if you are making it. “How are you doing?” means, is your business doing OK? Is your restaurant or corner store going to survive the economic down turn? Will you keep your house? Will your kids get to go to college? Will you get laid off? Have you found work? Will your marriage survive? Do you have anything to do with the auto industry?

Some people call this a recession. I think that’s a polite thing to say as a depressed Michigan looks for a new industry. The future is bright for our state as soon as we forget about the past and look toward the future. I truly believe that out of this terrible time will come the next great innovation the planet needs. Michigan will not be known as an automotive state in 50 years… and that new fame is being decided upon right now! These are excitingly scary times. The smart will thrive while those holding to the past will go bankrupt. 

The most basic of questions is an upper midwestern nice way of asking, “Are you going to make it?” I’ve heard people answer that question with, “Oh no… we’re fine. Things at work are going really well, a little slow but really well.” Recently I overheard a small business owner get asked, “How are you doing?” He told the customer… we’re down about $40,000 on sales this year. I wondered, was that what the question the customer really was asking? 

Friends and neighbors and shop keepers and waitresses and everyone else, how are you doing? To quote our old pastor, Ray Pritchard. “We don’t know about tomorrow but we know who holds tomorrow. That makes today a good day to run to the cross.” In Christ, everything is going to be OK. How are you doing?