I sat on the balcony recently and shared an evening with a friend. As I look back, I am not sure what our original agenda was. I do know that I shared an evening filled with stories and insights. It was one among many. On this evening I felt as if a door opened into his more. No question was left unanswered. We wandered through our stories together, sharing, probing, and enjoying the twists and turns of our lives.
I have been left with a greater sense of trust and community. I know there is much more to explore. Even as my curiosity was tweaked, I realized that you and I have more opportunities to learn more about others. I am not a natural, however, I can testify that it is easier when I do the following.
Ask. When someone asks, others are often willing to tell. Too many questions often create a sense of distrust, however each is a door to more. When I let go of my hesitation, a wonderful room opens for sharing.
Listen. I am getting much better at leaving my mobile in another room on silent. The process of letting go, being fully present, opens me up to hearing with my heart. In these moments possibilities are live.
Be willing to be surprised. I often find that my openness to whatever comes in the conversation is something that others can tangibly feel. It is as if I am giving them permission to be themselves. From someone you least expect it comes the following words; “I’m grateful to God for the gift of praying in tongues that he gives us for praising him, which leads to wonderful intimacies we enjoy with him. I enter into this as much or more than any of you.” (1 Corinthians 14.18)
Since the balcony experience, I have had several others evenings of sharing. The experience of each has gifted me part of a greater story that you and I are a part of. Sharing what is inside brings out the best. We are greater for it.