My Beautiful Friend Margaret
How are you?
Fine. How are you?
And we go on our way. A snippet of conversation like this can't be avoided in our busy world of coming and going, but investing in a good conversation is well worth the time and effort. It takes conscious choice, a sense of purpose and selflessness.
I'm not talking about Facebook, although I've heard from a friend of mine that she can have wonderful exchanges with folks online. I don't doubt it, but I haven't learned that skill as yet. I need to see the person and hear their tone. I love eye contact.
I am blessed with several friends I could mention here, but I am going to use the example of a friend I met with quite recently. I enjoyed a fabulous conversation with Margaret. She is a good friend and we care about each other's lives. So when we met for coffee, I knew we'd have a wonderful talk. And we did.
1) We both chose to LISTEN with CURIOUS EARS. I have worked hard to be the kind of person that listens to what someone else is saying. Too many times I've heard what he/she is saying but the only thing that went through my mind was what I WOULD SAY NEXT. This does not build the kind of conversation that brings joy. So now I listen and I use my curiosity to ASK QUESTIONS. This should be natural but to many of us, it is not. However, it is a skill that can be learned and practiced.
2) We gave each other equal time. Margaret and I both know that a good friendship is a balanced friendship. Sure, there are times of crisis or trouble that requires we spend more time talking about one of us than the other. But for normal and wonderful conversations we each get to talk about what's going on in our lives. We have all had the experience of having a conversation with someone who only wanted to talk about themselves. They asked no questions and they shared no real interest in us. This does not bring joy.
Margaret and I just use basic consideration and thoughtfulness.
3) We try to see each other with the eyes of Jesus. I know when I meet up with Margaret, I am talking to someone who loves the Lord and loves me. Since we have built a friendship through time, she has permission to speak into my life the love and direction of God. I'm not talking about sitting down with me and telling me to stop sinning! Although if she were ever told by God to do that, she would have my permission because she's earned the right. I often pray for Margaret or whoever I'm meeting up with and ask God to help me be a blessing to them. What happens is usually a God thing and a conversation that always leads to JOY.
Want Joy in your life? TODAY, think of someone you want to converse with and have a purposeful, selfless and God-guided chat with them. When you walk away or hang up the phone just watch...JOY!