Every morning, at least on workdays, Cherry gives me a ride to the train station. The station is only a twelve-minute walk, but the three or four minutes in the car have turned into a special time. In the early days of this gift, it seemed like we could condense an argument into the space; this seemed such a waste. Then, I am not sure what happened, things changed.
The time is now very special. We have the best, albeit strange conversations! Nothing is off limits! We can solve world hunger, commiserate together about the joys of raising teenagers, or talk about what we, usually I, do that causes stress in the life of Cherry. The topics seem to multiply daily. We laugh and enjoy; I can easily be in tears of laughter by the time we get to the station!
It is, for sake of clarity, important to note that many conversations follow a preset pattern. Cherry describes the challenge (actions that I continue to take that cause her stress). I feebly attempt to laugh with her (i.e. minimize the damage I continue to cause just because of who I am). The process actually works for us. The reason is that for the first time in twenty-two years I am actually listening to the conversation.
Talking with teenagers can follow the same pattern. Are we talking at each other or actually listening to the other's words and intent? Cherry and I for years talked at each other. I take primary responsibility; I am determined that I will not repeat it with my daughters no matter how frustrated I get with their views, words, or actions!
I pause and reflect about my God dialogue. I can just hear Him saying, “Since you laugh at my counsel and make a joke of my advice, how can I take you seriously?” (Proverbs 1.24)
God continues to talk with us, although it seems very quiet when we refuse to listen. God offers us two-way conversation. Listening can be the beginning of a wonderful dialogue. Come, now is the time.