In every conversation there is a starting point. Sometimes you do not need to ask what it is. In these conversations, care and kindness are so integral to the thoughts being expressed, that you can feel love’s gentle embrace wrapping around everyone in the room. Even when the topic is difficult, I love these conversations. The context in these conversations is a shared journey where one is working for all, and all for one. When the starting point is shared, one is certain that the journey with a friend will lead to trust and hope.
In contrast, there are conversations where I cannot see a starting point. When this is missing, often the ending point is also invisible. I find myself wondering what a perfect outcome would be, or even if the speaker knows the message s/he is delivering.
As I was confronted for being vague in my messaging, I realized I had failed to share my starting point. I had, metaphorically at least, asked the listener to guess what I was intending to say. It was almost like I was verbally playing Where is Waldo?
As I reflect on the situation and the lessons I can take from it, I hear Whispers offering me points for consideration.
Listen to the words of wisdom which have been left for us. “Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free.” (James 2.12) Love is at the heart of freedom. Mercy, compassion, and empathy are involved.
Create space for the words to land. Silence is an ally. Let words do their thing, rushing only takes away the power of what was just said, in many cases reducing it to babbling. If the goal is understanding and dialogue, every listening needs time to hear, reflect, and then respond. Rushing through with more words will reduce the opportunity for this process to work.Watch, listen, and let the reaction of those listening guide you to what comes next. Never assume, their response will offer a guide to how one intentionally continues.