How Are You Doing?

By Abigail de Vuyst

“How are you doing?” 

They routinely ask me this morning 

“I’m okay,” I say, a regular response 

They haven’t seen the news yet 

“How are you doing?” 

“I’m alright,” I say, as I hold back tears 

I can’t look anyone in the face 

They wonder what is going on with me 

They haven’t made the connection 

“How are you doing?” 

Some ask, as they rush over to give me a hug 

Every hug today is a little longer 

They know the situation 

I can’t even answer 

I just cry 

“How are you doing?” 

My professor asks me as I enter the empty classroom

“They’re bombing my city” is all I can say 

“Oh no,” they mutter 

They remember where I’m from 

I collapse into their caring arms 

“How are you doing?” 

“Have you seen the news,” I say 

They do a quick search 

“The missiles in Ukraine?” they ask 

“Yeah, Russia declared war” 

Thankfully, that’s enough of an answer 

“How are you doing? 

I saw the news 

Are you okay?” 

“I didn’t sleep last night,” I say 

Pity engulfs their face 

“I can’t even imagine,” they say 

“How are you doing?” 

“I’m from Ukraine,” I say 

“If you need to talk, go ahead,” 

The stranger says in my meeting 

I appreciate the care 

“How are you doing?” 

I sigh; I know I am safe with them 

“It’s been a hard day” 

They help me process, 

Cry with me and pray with me 

“How are you doing?” 

A bright happy smile 

Crossing my path 

“I’m good,” I say; I lie 

I want to be upset—they don’t realize my situation 

But their joyful smile instead 

Gives me a moment of hope 

I hope that one day 

My people can again smile 

Without the constant fear and thought of war 

“How are you doing?” 

I don’t know what to say 

The truth is I don’t know how I am doing 

I feel like my inside has been ripped open and someone is digging around inside, 

trying to steal my heart 

I guess that is what is happening 

Someone is stealing my heart 

Ukraine has always been my heart 

Ukraine will always be my heart 

Слава Україні!

Abigail grew up in Ukraine as a TCK/MK. She is currently studying at university in Michigan. 
NOTE: An excerpt of this poem was published in an article in Christianity Today:

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