conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

Just Do It—Out Loud (DGtC#31)

with one comment

But what if I’m a scaredy-cat?

I’m toying with the notion of starting conversations people won’t like. I’ve advocated and agitated for having the difficult conversation:

  • Even if I don’t know all the answers,
  • Even if I don’t have all my ducks in a row,
  • Still, start the conversation.

It’s a faith thing: faith that pressing thoughts into words and sending them clanging out at a conversation partner will have a positive effect. The faith part has to do with hoping we’ll get through it and still have a relationship.

TalkingNotTalking-2-09042015

My friend is a hospital chaplain. He and I have talked several times about the sort of sacred space he tries to step into at the bedside of a dying patient and family. It’s typically a quiet space, through deeply-charged with emotion. He comes to listen, he says. Platitudes and easy answers are not part of his game plan.

At these moments, just before the end, all sorts of unsaid stuff gets suddenly said. Confessions. Sorrow. Hopes and dreams. Oddly, even the very most mundane, ordinary things—weather, lighting, parking, “the soup is too salty”—are also said. But these ordinary words have more to do with human connection and presence than transferring information. The words themselves communicate far more than Webster’s dictionary would allow.

            “Sometimes people just need to hear themselves talk,” said Dave, the chaplain.

So he listens.

And the process of letting-go unfolds.

You’re Doing it Wrong

Surely we’re doing things wrong if we hold our most important thoughts in stasis until we show up at a loved one’s deathbed. Or until we wake up on our own deathbed. There’s got to be room for saying what’s really on our minds, even if uncomfortable, even if potentially relationship-threatening. I suspect that saying our important stuff out loud is sometimes a work of fierce determination. There are times where we must force those words up the esophagus and out through the lips.

Saying our most important stuff will not happen on Facebook or Twitter. Those spaces are loaded with an image we’ve carefully primped. We are agreeing and agreeable in those places.

No—I want to cultivate those raw conversations. I’m thinking of those conversations that happen after driving 1700 miles together. The conversations that happen at the end of a long evening talking with friends.

Is it possible to bring those kinds of conversations into regular life—even if they make people uncomfortable? Even if it goes against my grain as a people-pleaser? Those are the conversations where growth can happen.

What have you left unsaid today that really needs to be out in the open?

###

Image credit: Kirk Livingston

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One Response

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  1. Good luck Kirk. (K.)

    memadtwo

    September 4, 2015 at 9:29 pm


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