Saturday, May 2, 2015

Conversation Starters

Darian came home Tuesday evening as she has an umbilical hernia that causes her almost constant pain. And so, yesterday we left the house at 8:15 and headed to the first doctor's appointment so that she could get the physical needed by the family physician for the sake insurance coverage and a "referral" for a surgeon. At 11:15, she had an appointment with the surgeon. And then at 3:00, she had an appointment with a dermatologist. It was a whirlwind day filled with one appointment after another and a couple of fun activities squeezed in between to bide the time.

After her first appointment, we headed to Starbucks. We had two hours to kill and so we both ordered a chai, found a corner table, and hung out. Okay--we ordered a cake pop too. Two hours is quite a lot of time for conversation as we had talked the night before for quite some time and covered all the regular topics--you know, friend stories, guy stories, school stories--that sort of thing. And so, after awhile, I got the brilliant idea to check out "conversation starters" online which produced a host of questions to discuss. And so, Darian and I filled the next segment of time with If you could have one superpower what would it be? Do you believe that one person can change the world? What are your passions? and many, many more. We laughed and thought and talked and laughed some more the entire time. One man who was sitting close by couldn't help himself and was clearly listening in on our conversation. And that made me laugh.

What is he thinking about us??

One time, we made eye contact--this man and me. Normally, if I am listening in on a conversation that I'm not really a part, I quickly divert my eyes if one of them looks at me. But this man was so intently listening to us that he didn't even attempt to divert his eyes. He looked straight at me for an uncomfortable amount of time.

Does he not like what I'm saying?

Because it was that particular conversation that Darian and I were having that was a wee bit controversial. I toyed with the idea of inviting him over: Come join us! But he looked engrossed in his newspaper. And, of course, this was just "us" time. So, I didn't.

But that two hours with Darian at Starbucks discussing matters of the heart? That was time well-spent. That two hour slot created a memory that I will hold dear as summer winds to a close and Darian flies off for a year in Bolivia.

Sometimes I marvel at the power of conversation. It's such an interesting thing--the ability to converse and get another's perspective; the ability to share matters of the heart; the ability to deceive, to be honest, to comfort, to harm, to create.

Words are powerful.

One of the questions that Darian and I discussed was If you could have a super power, what would it be? I said--I'd be invisible! Darian said, Yeah! I would love to be invisible! And then her face scrunched as she contemplated that idea, and we both laughed at the same time.

Probably, if we could be invisible, we wouldn't have any friends left because we would hear what everybody says about us...so we'd go around with hurt feelings all of the time.

Yeah. Better not to know.

Sometimes two-faced is a beautiful thing.

Recently my Aunt Peggy and Uncle John came to visit. We had the most amazing time together, playing games and chatting it up like no tomorrow. It was a glorious 48 hours and sped by much too quickly--as it always does. But anyway, on their last evening here, we went out to eat at Tupelo Honey, and we got into a political discussion. I recoil at political discussions. People are so passionate about their views and have little room for other views. And so, I have found that it's best to just keep silent in those moments. But within this conversation, John said that the problem with our nation is the lack of conversation. We only talk about the big issues with those who agree with us. And if we are talking with those who don't agree with us, it is no longer a conversation: it is a shouting match.

The result? We don't understand each other. We take sides and nurse our own wounds while throwing darts at theirs.

Just look around. The results of festered wounds are everywhere: Baltimore being the most recent catastrophe.

We need to bring back the art of conversation. It needs to start within our families at the dinner table and then spread to friends and then communities. We need to be talking about the bigger issues--not for the sake of solving, but for the sake of understanding. That, in my opinion, would at least be a beginning. And maybe that beginning could start with Google and a website called Conversation Starters.
Darian came home Tuesday evening as she has an umbilical hernia that causes her almost constant pain. And so, yesterday we left the house at 8:15 and headed to the first doctor's appointment so that she could get the physical needed by the family physician for the sake insurance coverage and a "referral" for a surgeon. At 11:15, she had an appointment with the surgeon. And then at 3:00, she had an appointment with a dermatologist. It was a whirlwind day filled with one appointment after another and a couple of fun activities squeezed in between to bide the time.

After her first appointment, we headed to Starbucks. We had two hours to kill and so we both ordered a chai, found a corner table, and hung out. Okay--we ordered a cake pop too. Two hours is quite a lot of time for conversation as we had talked the night before for quite some time and covered all the regular topics--you know, friend stories, guy stories, school stories--that sort of thing. And so, after awhile, I got the brilliant idea to check out "conversation starters" online which produced a host of questions to discuss. And so, Darian and I filled the next segment of time with If you could have one superpower what would it be? Do you believe that one person can change the world? What are your passions? and many, many more. We laughed and thought and talked and laughed some more the entire time. One man who was sitting close by couldn't help himself and was clearly listening in on our conversation. And that made me laugh.

What is he thinking about us??

One time, we made eye contact--this man and me. Normally, if I am listening in on a conversation that I'm not really a part, I quickly divert my eyes if one of them looks at me. But this man was so intently listening to us that he didn't even attempt to divert his eyes. He looked straight at me for an uncomfortable amount of time.

Does he not like what I'm saying?

Because it was that particular conversation that Darian and I were having that was a wee bit controversial. I toyed with the idea of inviting him over: Come join us! But he looked engrossed in his newspaper. And, of course, this was just "us" time. So, I didn't.

But that two hours with Darian at Starbucks discussing matters of the heart? That was time well-spent. That two hour slot created a memory that I will hold dear as summer winds to a close and Darian flies off for a year in Bolivia.

Sometimes I marvel at the power of conversation. It's such an interesting thing--the ability to converse and get another's perspective; the ability to share matters of the heart; the ability to deceive, to be honest, to comfort, to harm, to create.

Words are powerful.

One of the questions that Darian and I discussed was If you could have a super power, what would it be? I said--I'd be invisible! Darian said, Yeah! I would love to be invisible! And then her face scrunched as she contemplated that idea, and we both laughed at the same time.

Probably, if we could be invisible, we wouldn't have any friends left because we would hear what everybody says about us...so we'd go around with hurt feelings all of the time.

Yeah. Better not to know.

Sometimes two-faced is a beautiful thing.

Recently my Aunt Peggy and Uncle John came to visit. We had the most amazing time together, playing games and chatting it up like no tomorrow. It was a glorious 48 hours and sped by much too quickly--as it always does. But anyway, on their last evening here, we went out to eat at Tupelo Honey, and we got into a political discussion. I recoil at political discussions. People are so passionate about their views and have little room for other views. And so, I have found that it's best to just keep silent in those moments. But within this conversation, John said that the problem with our nation is the lack of conversation. We only talk about the big issues with those who agree with us. And if we are talking with those who don't agree with us, it is no longer a conversation: it is a shouting match.

The result? We don't understand each other. We take sides and nurse our own wounds while throwing darts at theirs.

Just look around. The results of festered wounds are everywhere: Baltimore being the most recent catastrophe.

We need to bring back the art of conversation. It needs to start within our families at the dinner table and then spread to friends and then communities. We need to be talking about the bigger issues--not for the sake of solving, but for the sake of understanding. That, in my opinion, would at least be a beginning. And maybe that beginning could start with Google and a website called Conversation Starters.

1 comment:

  1. I want to join your next starbucks discussion time!!

    ReplyDelete

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