There is something magical in honest conversations. The most recent one seemed to start over dinner. If either of us had thought about it, the conversation actually began over a decade ago. Back then many would have seen it as a conversation between guide and follower. I do not know that I ever saw it that way. There has been a mystery to our dialogue from the early days. Candor, a willingness to listen intensely, and mutual respect were part of the equation.
Hope is here. It is in the room. Hope is going to be part of the day that unfolds.
I know there is something more. Whatever it is, I wish more conversations contained it. While the list is not definitive, I do know pieces of the “it”. They include the following.
The conversations include a starting premise of positive intent. We have always used the premise that the other begins with the intent of listening, engaging, and making a positive difference. If something looks or feels otherwise, the action is automatic – ask a clarifying question.
When a mistake is made, really anything less than reasonable, come clean. This is not a half-hearted exercise. It is a direct no drama acknowledgement. Metaphorically, we give each other permission to be a relationship god with each other, following an old model; “if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.” (1 John 1.9)
Conversations, even casual ones, are an opportunity to see and hear more than you otherwise can. Because of our time together, I see more of the world and the people in it. The other is closer, more real. I do not always agree. I think I understand more because of it. I am richer for what he can see.
The combination leaves me stronger and filled with hope. It was a great meal filled with even better conversation. It is not over, it continues. I look forward to the next chapter.