I taught a short seminar about conversations recently. When I first told my wife what I would be doing she gave me the grim news.
“You’re not good at conversations. Why are you doing that?” She wasn’t angry. She was more matter-of-fact, with the slightest – and I say slightest – hint of humor.
I, of course, humbly listened but silently protested, and I spent the next few days trying to show off my finely honed conversation skills.
Apparently, she wasn’t overwhelmed. When I asked how I was doing in conversations – no doubt, right after a scintillating exchange – her answer was the same. Ugh. The time had come to show off my less refined listening skills.
She made two observations. (1) I could sometimes be distracted and preoccupied. Yes, guilty as charged. (2) I could do better at sharing my own heart. I had to think about that one a bit, but she was right. I could ask her about her day and I think she would say that I am very good at drawing her out when she is unsettled by a nameless feeling, but I wasn’t quick to share the things on my heart.
With that in mind, here is a sample of this morning’s experiences that I hope to share with her. My aim is to be more prepared for our conversations.
- I saw it again. Human relationships grow in unity as we know more of the love of Jesus for us. A husband, whose wife was with him, said that their relationship was growing, but he was concerned that he was spending a little less time with the Lord. He knew that marital growth could not exceed his own growth in faith and love. He wanted more time to feed on Scripture. I loved this and was convicted by it.
- Two comings. Jesus came and he is coming. Jesus came as a baby, he will come as the creator, consummator, Lord and King. What a fine time to live. We have witnessed his being born to die, and we will witness his return, either from the perspective of heaven or earth. We look back with joy and forward with hope.
- Oh, and speaking of death. Yes, I know I think about death a lot, but here is what I was considering. I want to die better before I die. “I am crucified with Christ,” wrote the Apostle Paul. Over the last day I have been thinking about how liberating it would be if I could die better than I have been. I have been thinking about the little resentments than can creep into my life and how, if I really knew being crucified with Christ, I would quickly shed those burdens. I want to learn how to die before I die.
- Other than that? Not much. Went for a quick swim. Boring and tiring. I know some people who pray while they are doing laps but I can’t, at least not yet. I am too committed to counting – I don’t want to do one lap more than I have decided to do.
Today had a little more flexible time in it. I won’t be able to write things like this down every day. On other days I will try to gather my thoughts about the day’s highs and lows during the five minute drive home from work.
Postscript: I spoke these things to her, then I sent this to her to read. She was visibly pleased, even blessed. It doesn’t take much. And I am still at it – trying to be more prepared for conversations. I certainly enjoy our time when I do, but it is harder work than I thought it would be.