When we greet someone or call up a friend on the phone, how does the conversation start? “How are you?” “I am good.” “And you?” “Good”. How many times do we have this conversation with various people throughout our day? What information does it really convey? For most of us, it conveys nothing. This is an automatic exchange that we have with people throughout each of our days in an effort to enter a conversation or just to be friendly to someone. This is really an automatic response. We do not even think about it, we say it and move on. We could be having the worst day and we can still say this. We could also find ourselves venting about the challenges that we are experiencing.
I found myself in this very situation one day while having a discussion with my parish priest, who is from Venezuela. After giving a summary of my week, he said to me that in his country, a common response to “Comó estás” is “Aquí en la lucha.” I will never forget that moment when it all clicked for me. In my laundry list of complaints about the week, I failed to recognize what living this life is so often about. It is about being in the fight. Aqui en la lucha. Our stock answers, our laundry list of trials, our complaints, our sighs of frustration are much better summed up as Father Rafael prompted me. Aquí en la lucha.
This response is empowering and truly sums it up. We all have hard days. Sometimes the hard days turn into weeks, and months, and years. Aquí en la lucha. That is the mentality that we need to have throughout our trials. We need to be here in the fight. Not pretending that the fight does not exist. Not drowning ourselves in complaining about our trials. But to have an active engagement in our trials. Jesus tell us in John 16:33 that we will have trouble in this world. We will suffer. Sometimes life will be downright awful. But Estamos aquí en la lucha. We are here in the fight. Jesus follows up his statement with “but take courage, I have conquered the world.” Jesus is with us in the fight.
So often when we hear someone going through their laundry list of trials we start problem solving or we become irritable to be listening to complaints. Or sometimes we do not even know what to say to comfort someone so we do or say nothing. We are all on this earth together and should do better at supporting one another. We should be encouraging one another in the fight. We should be joining one another in the fight. We should especially be encouraging one another in the light of the gospel. Our trials can often leave us feeling isolated and alone. But we are never truly alone because Jesus promised us that he would always be with us. This reminder is the very last verse in the Gospel of Matthew “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matt. 28:20.
So the next time we find ourselves falling into automatic conversations and responses. When we find ourselves complaining about our trials, let us remember and encourage each other with the words of Fr. Rafael: “Comó estás?” “Aquí en la lucha.” How are you? Here in the fight. When we recognize that someone else is struggling to empower themselves in this way, let us remind them. Let us reflect this statement to them. Let us encourage them to keep fighting and to turn ceaselessly to our Lord and Savior in prayer during the fight.