I was the newbie in the conversation. Of the four, two were old friends, one was a new member of a firm owned by one of the four, and then there was me – a relatively new friend of one of the three. I was hoping for a conversation filled with possibilities. Given the mix, I set my hopes to the side.
As I look back on the conversation on the morning after, I can see how useful it was to come into the conversation without expectations. What followed was an amazing mix of stories, questions, viewpoints, options, and ideas. Everyone contributed! It was as if each had heard an instructional whisper before arriving; “take your turn, no one person taking over.” (1 Corinthians 14.29)
It is a model I would do well to remember today. The core components of the conversation are ones that I can carry with me.
No assumptions. There was an attitude of open listening. If something did not make sense, another asked. If something was interesting, one probed. If the story was amazing, funny, or incredulous, everyone was laughing with the storyteller.
Curiosity. Everyone was interested in seeing where an idea went or could go. A story or idea was never left as it was. Possibilities were explored. Without prejudice, the potential of what might be was shared openly.
Hope. As different as the four of us were, hope was shared without hesitation. There was a wonderful sense of what might be. Limits and boundaries were accepted as stated. An attitude of shared community permeated the conversation.
The evening ebbed and flowed with a conversation that moved effortlessly between storytelling and new ideas. I am confident that this is not the last conversation we will have. I am also filled with a sense of wonder. You and I are part of a bigger story. In every story there are options, especially when the next chapter has yet to be written. We are the authors. Our freedom is the writing instrument in our hand. Today is another chapter filled with endless possibilities.