Our conversation was rolling until I saw the telltale signals. In that moment I knew I had to finish the conversation and restart it differently. While another was listening there was no hearing or understanding. The eyes had lost any sparkle of interest. It has been replaced by a dull stare. The suppressed yawn was the equivalent of a body-language scream. The alert posture was not a casual slump. Even the responses had changed. The crisp on point phrases had been replaced by clichés. The initial openness had been replaced with a barrier.
The irony was that the conversation was intended as feedback so we could mutually improve. While our efforts to work on a project had been successful, there was much that we could improve on. In moment of recognition, I knew there was no point of continuing. Everything reminded me of an old wisdom saying. “The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness.” (1 Corinthians 2.14)
I could see the opportunity. He could not.
As I stepped back to think through a different way of approaching the conversation, I realized I was looking at myself in a mirror. I often know the answers before the process unfolds. Why listen when you already know the destination? The answer lies in respect and the potential for more. The simple principles I found myself embracing included the following.
Life offers us more. We may think we know what the opportunities are. There is more than what we know. It is easy to assume that we can see all there is to see. Life is all seeing. Boundaries are our friend. Life is limitless.
We decide how far we are willing to walk. Our limits are self-constructed. Construction techniques include embracing presumptions, turning a deaf ear to conversations, and rushing onwards without reflection.
Life will continue to reach out to us, even in our stubbornness. The window to more is here. It is a gift buried in this moment.