Silence? Well, duh! Of course, silence would be a blockage to communication. But how do you open the door to conversation when the other person is not in the same room? Easy. Text messaging.
I’m embarrassed to admit how early I woke up this morning. Well, okay–it was three a.m. How’s that for vulnerability and transparency?
Of course, I had my morning java to help me focus. But after DAB, I became restless. And the silence of the morning drove me to my social networks, where I caught up on news about family and friends. My life seemed a little boring in comparison.
I thought of what my 11-year-old grandson Ethan asked me this last Saturday, “What do you and Pop do when we’re not here?”
I guess life in the gray zone seemed a bit too slow for him, too. As I laughed about Ethan’s comment with my daughter, Tara (his mom), she made light of his comment, comparing the rituals of our life with the the daily circus at their house. But I could tell that Ethan didn’t buy it.
By Monday morning Ethan’s comment didn’t seem so funny to me. So, I abandoned my frustrations by reading blog posts and hoping for another good laugh or inspiration.
Minutes turned to hours—five a.m. and still no communication within my home. My impatience continued. So, I began to sort my e-mail. Then, I sent a text to a friend who I hadn’t heard from recently—we had been playing “phone tag” for days.
Then, I remembered a podcast I wanted to watch. Another diversion.
Finally, I heard movement in the kitchen. I looked at the time—six o’clock. I hear coffee brewing. Steps walking toward me? No, he headed toward his man cave. What do you have to do to get someone to engage in a dialogue around here? Text? Yes, maybe that will work.
Dynamic duel. I write a quick and sarcastic message. ”Sometimes it feels like we’re two strangers living in the same house.”
His response: “Strange message. Different sleep cycles.”
I respond: ”You sit in one room drinking your coffee, and I sit in another listening to you.”
He asks, ”Are you really listening?”
I answer, ”Maybe we communicate best via text.”
Another rhetorical question: “Why aren’t you in your new recliner?”
We digress—our ramblings tend to go downhill from here. So, I won’t record all of our not-so-friendly chat.
He concludes: “Texting is a form of sign language.”
“Whatever! It’s communicating without talking.”
Dumb reply, I know. But I was running out of curt comments.
“I know you like coffee before talking,” he offers another pithy one-liner.
I feel my blood pressure rising. “Really? And how would you know? Have you ever asked me what I like?”
I snap back before he has a change to respond. ”What do I like? Hmmm … I’ll have to think about that. No one has ever asked me that question.”
Another careless comment comes to mind, “But I bet you know what I don’t like, right? I’ve told you a million times!” Whoosh—I tap “send” without hesitation.
“White rice?” He jokes.
“Wrong! I like white rice. It’s just not the healthiest choice. See … I told you!”
Silence invades our home again. No talking. No texting. Did someone issue a gag order here?
My man continues to drink his coffee, alone in his cave, facing the changing seasons in our back yard.
I walk out the front door, moving to our screened-in porch. And I decide to write this blog post on my smart phone, venting my frustrations. A healing narrative? More like a rant.
Wake up call. Then, the phone rings. Finally, someone to talk to! I see my friend’s name displayed on the caller ID. I stop writing and answer.
“How are you? I’m glad we finally connected.”
“Yes, me, too,” she agrees. “Your text this morning was timely. My brother died around four a.m. this morning.”
Shocked, I express my condolences. ”I am SO sorry!”
I grieve with my friend. Her younger brother, a single dad with a young son, succumbed to cancer. So sad. My friend’s brother had a miraculous story of transformation after the birth of his son. Aware of God’s intervention, he walked away from one life to build a new life for his son.
Now, this tragedy with his health. My friend knew her brother found healing in heaven. But he would be missed by all, especially his three-year-old son.
“It’s been a hard week! But we didn’t expect this to come so soon. We only moved him to hospice care yesterday.”
”I can only imagine!”
I hear my friend’s husband call her name in the background. “Can I call you later? Things are kind of crazy around here right now.”
As our conversation ends, I consider the events of my morning. Caught up in the worries of my own life, I wasn’t aware of the trouble my friend faced. I thought my day started out rough! My friend’s brother died right about the time I poured my second cup of coffee.
Once again, I’m reminded how life could be SO much harder. What do I have to complain about today? Silence? Seriously, is that the worse thing happening in my life right now?
Lord, help me!
And Lord, please bless my friend and her family today as they face the loss of their loved one. Bring your peace to calm their storm. May they experience your grace and mercy during this difficult season of life.
Let the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing in Your eyes, O Lord, my Rock and the One Who saves me. (Psalms 19:14 NLT)
Lord, thank you for waking me up to the reality of your truth and lifting me out of my self-pity. Forgive me for judging others and help me forgive their offenses. Remind me to count my blessings and trust you with my frustrations and fears. And thank you for your promise of grace in the gray zones of our lives. Amen.
How has God broken down the blockages to communication in your life?