Thursday, September 20, 2007

the veil of small talk

I had this friend once who thought it was an infliction, placed upon her by her childhood, to dive deep in a conversation without regards to small talk. She scared people away, she said. She was too deep too soon, she said. And I agreed, small talk is necessary to break the ice.

But I've been thinking of her a lot as of late. I have acquired an avoidance of small talk. There are so many important things in life to discuss, and if I can't get to the heart of the matter...why are we talking?

As I shared this with a true confidant, expressing my frustration with myself much like my friend of old used to do with me, I was surprised to find that I'm not alone in this. She, too, feels like small talk is an unnecessary facade when fellowshipping with other believers. MInTheGap eloquently identifies it as such:

We live in a culture that seldom wears external veils, but we also live in a culture where we each wear a veil every single day. I’m talking about the facade that we all want others to see. We all want others to see our positive traits and not our negatives...

This is especially true in the church today. The one place that we should be free to acknowledge that we are sinners and that we all have common struggles is also the one place that we have to be the most perfect. Our kids can’t be bad, our hair cannot be messed up, we must have on our best clothes and makeup...

My confidant, being the insightful gal that she is, put it into simple terms as well. When it is understood that both participants in a conversation follow Christ (otherwise known as believers) is it not much better to encourage one another and build each other up? (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

When I was in elementary school, I must have been ten-ish, my sister was out of town and her car stopped working. We were broke, and didn't have the $200 it would take to get her home to safety. Our time to pray with our mother was at night, before bed, and she encouraged us all to pray for the money we needed to rescue our sister. She would come to each of our rooms and pray with us, so night after night we added a prayer for our sister's situation at the end of our regular prayers (i.e. my brother always said at the end of his prayer, "I love you, Jesus.")

One day we were dropped off at home from school, and each of us had an identical envelope in the mailbox (four in all: for me, two of my sisters, and my little brother). Inside were letters, written on red lined paper, each with a short message, signed by Jesus, with a verse at the bottom. And fifty dollars. In each one. And my brother's has a P.S.- I love you, too, David.

An awesome story, yes, but why do I bring it up as I rant about the lack of depth in conversations with people that I consider friends? The verse on my letter was the very same verse I quoted above. I didn't recognize it until I saw the address and thought, "Oh yeah! This is *my* verse." Ever since that letter from Jesus arrived I've wondered how 1 Thessalonians 5:11 pertained to me. The second part of it always threw me off ("...just as you are doing").

So I have a new mission. Obviously the Lord thinks I could be good at "encouraging one another and building each other up," so I will. When I encounter small talk, I'll small talk my way right into your heart with an encouraging word. With the help of the Holy Spirit, that is. Because I *know* I can't do it myself.

1 thoughts:

HopewellMomSchool said...

Great post! Thanks, too, for stopping by my blog so I could find yours :)