When members of my family come in the door after a day at work or time away, I’m likely to send a barrage of greetings and questions: “Hi, how are you? How was your day? What did you do? Did anything exciting happen?” On the surface, these questions may seem like friendly queries of interest and care about my loved ones. But sometimes it’s too much–too soon, too intrusive, too invasive, too yacky, too nosy…. Their responses are often terse or uninformative–conversation stoppers rather than starters: “Fine, Terrible, Nothing, No.” I get irritated and say stupid things like, “Oh c’mon something happened, tell me.”
I’m learning, however. Sometimes a simple, “Hi it’s good to see you” is enough. If I manage to be quiet and wait, stories and feelings will emerge. Maybe not on my time frame or maybe not even that day. But my silence and waiting honors both the privacy and rhythm of the other person’s life.
The other day when I heard some people talking about WAIT as an acronym, my ears perked up. I will try to remember it whenever my urge to wrack information from others or fix them or give them unwanted advice tickles my vocal chords and trickles close to my tongue.
“Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse; all they do is run off at the mouth.” (Proverbs 18:2 MSG)
Sybil MacBeth ©2010