I apparently didn’t learn how to use the bathroom like a normal person until I was older than the other kids, however I learned how to speak English earlier and better than all those kids wearing proper underwear. As a result of my early communicative skills, I engaged quickly in the art of conversation. I distinctly remember many adults stopping themselves half way through sharing things with me as they realized I was just a little boy. Still today, my best days are the days I have an opportunity to connect with someone I didn’t know the day before in a way that demands we regard one another as friends from that day forward. This happens to me more than any five other people I know. For whatever reason, I find it very difficult to exchange pleasantries with a person for the sake of the exchange. I don’t like to talk about weather or sports because they are trivial, relative to everything else I could be sharing and discovering by connecting with people.
I’m not bragging or complaining, I’m just saying. I’m saying it makes good sense not to waste time when it comes to getting to a place of substance with another person. At the end of the day, as we sit back and sip our sweet tea and think about the things that make our lives rich, we tend to think of the things that connect us deeply with others. More than the umbrella in your cocktail ten years ago on vacation, you harken back to how beautiful she looked with a flower in her ear. More than the marshmallows, you think of the late night in the canoe talking about what makes the world go round. More intensely than the memory of your favorite song, you remember who you loved to sing it with while driving down the road. The times you counted to ten and then said hello rather than acting like you were on the airplane by yourself are the times you in fact, acted out of your intrinsic desire to connect with the people around you. There is a certain connectivity we have with one another that usually goes untapped.
I submit the following…
To the degree we actually set our social anxieties aside and share ourselves with each other, will be the extent to which we live lives that are truly connected and relationally healthy. We as people have a deep need to hear and be heard. We are all thinking about things that are unique and remarkable and those thoughts become something other than daydreams the moment they are shared with another person. Likewise, we have an opportunity to be a tremendous blessing to others by simply using the 2 ears and 1 mouth we were given…in that proportion. Learning to listen well is the single nicest thing you can do for the people around you. It’s hard to admit, but there is nothing quite as satisfying as having someone sitting across from you with no agenda other than to learn whats on your heart. Alternatively, I’m sure you can agree that there is nothing quite as draining as trying to share with someone as they work tirelessly to edge in with their own take on your situation.
So…the next time you lock eyes with the guy across from you at Jiffy Lube while your sipping that nasty coffee, go ahead and do it.
You: “Wow, you’d think for 39.00 they could stand to put something other than the oil in the coffee pot:)”
Dude will chuckle and say: ” I was just thinking the same thing”
You: I’m a Starbucks man, how about you?…
And now…you are off into the land of connecting with the people around you. Believe me when I tell you that you will learn more in this environment (relationally) than in any other, save your marriage or coarse:)
Speaking of connecting…
My brother Adam Truman (best friend) is here visiting. He and my son Elijah Truman have had a strong connection since Eli was born. This is a picture I took of them on Saturday as they were enjoying some time together at the park in the company of a new rocket ship. My guts tell me Eli is a natural connector and it makes his dad really proud:)