Conversation is an art.
It’s the exchange of spoken words strung together with bits of ourselves.
Our dialects. Our mannerisms. Our choice of words. Our rhythm of speaking. They all work together to tell a story.
Some of us work at perfecting our art of story telling. We watch our word choices. We soften our tone at all the right spots. We make light of all the heavy parts. We learn to hide truth between the lines and smile all the while. But instead of perfecting the art of conversing, we make perfect our story and lose ourselves in the process.
Others of us spend our days condensing our story into 160 character sound bites. Our art is strictly clean lines with clean margins and void of all the beauty found in those bits of ourselves that are shared in lengthier dialogue. We sift our words and speak only those necessary to share the safe parts.
But others of us, the wildly crazy ones, throw perfection out the window and speak in pieces so broken that others see only Jesus, and not our art. Oh, the story is our art, but we are not the creator of the art. Jesus is. We spill open our lives in such messy abandon that those things we speak of can only point to the Maker of all things right in our lives. We choose our words based on making Jesus known, not ourselves. We color outside the lines and use every color in the box and delight in the Giver of the colors for it is in our colorful story, that the true Artist is given His due.
Over a basket of chips and fresh guacamole, we picked up where our stories had left off, nearly 20 years ago. I don’t know if it was the avocados or the enchiladas or the sheer desperation to connect with a familiar face from my past, but something magical happened at that table.
We made beautiful conversation.
Words flowed effortlessly. She spoke and I spoke. I asked her about her heart, her life, her wants in life, her Jesus, and she answered thoughtfully, at times almost poetically. She shared her art, the messes she has made, the years of cleaning up, the parts that are still waiting for Jesus to perfect, the gaping holes in her life’s canvas that long to be filled. I listened and when she was done, she picked away at my story. I shared, in my own Southern drawl that sneaks back into my vernacular on occasion, and she listened with her whole face. I told my own story and how I feel like I’ve made a mess of it all, like I’ve erased the same spot so many times I’ve worn a hole straight through my paper. We laughed and wiped tears and got to the deep parts of our hearts in less than 3 hours. In Christ, time is but a vapor.
It’s been almost a week since the six baskets of chips and three pounds of guacamole. And all I can think about is how full I felt after having been in her presence.
And it had nothing to do with how eloquently she made her art.
It had everything to do with how eloquently she shared her Jesus.