“In the short time you have been here, you have joined the ranks only two others are occupying.”
“Huh? What are you describing?”
“You ask questions. When you are not sure, you probe.”
As I thought about the exchange, I realized that I have been in the “no” camp too often my life. I can vividly remember a good partner and friend talking about a document he had just published. As he walked through the key sections, I knew it was important. To this day, I am not sure I ever finished reading it because there were whole sections that I did not understand. The regret I live with is that I never asked. I let it go, thinking that I would eventually understand. While I got part of it with time, I still look back and wonder what he meant in several key sections.
There is a time and place for candor, especially uncertainty. The reminder in the recent conversation was a simple one I often forget. It is easy to let one’s self wander off course or walk confused if one does not muster the courage to be candid. Questions, clarifying and insightful, go unasked and unanswered. Everyone involved is poorer because of the quietness.
This is one of the reasons I admire David. He seemed to find courage where it is still in short supply. David questioned God and laid out his demand. “Long enough, God – you’ve ignored me long enough. I’ve looked at the back of your head.” (Psalm 13.1)
Candor in all its forms can be devastating yet it can also lead to insights and understanding. It is not always easy to ask, especially when the answer (or lack of) leaves one thirsty for more. David’s model suggests relentlessness and openness. It seems easy when one hears that the other is open. I heard it recently. The process left me wondering if I am willing to hear the invitation in other parts of my life. I know it’s there. I also know that listening is rarely easy.