Sometimes I think we do all the talking because we are afraid God won’t.
Barbara Brown Taylor, When God is Silent
In many conversations with my husband or my adult children, I say too much.
I want them to be informed or maybe even help them make a right decision and make sure I cover many nuanced perspectives. Even with my best intention, usually, my talk is not welcomed. My daughter recently asked for my advice and then gave me a choice by texting: #1 or #2? I guess at least she is still asking.
Right now, our family is in a heartbreaking situation and I am not there. So, my conversation is with God and I’m trying desperately to listen, not talk. Yet, I continually have to quell the scenarios that play in my verbal head.
The lives I am brokenhearted about belong to God, whether they use the word God or not.
This morning I listened to the podcast, On Being, with Krista Tippett that provided concrete insights for my challenge. The episode was about conversation, specifically the difficult ones that the United States has been having lately.
At critical times like my family is facing, it is a struggle to put words around our deepest longings. Krista spends some time defining ‘conversation’ that evokes a vision of shared lives, not simply words.
She reminds that relational conversation is bigger than talk. Before any words are spoken, the space, tone, and frame for what might be possible are established. We also bring our shared lives into the conversation by listening. We bring a genuine curiosity (the opposite of posturing) and ask searching questions that make the conversation genuine. Significant conversations that are turning points in our lives have some other common elements: a lot of silence and trust that has most often been earned.
Sounds like these are tenants that apply to my ‘conversation’ with God. One that also transcends words. In fact, words are often hard to come by lately. Words that describe my deepest desire anyway. Silence and trust are required.
My tactic has been to visualize the person or even use a picture to keep my mind stayed on her image in God’s light and love. I have been trying Catherine of Genoa’s admonishment that it is because of this tender love that I need not ask anything of God for you. All I need to do is lift you up before his face.
No words needed.