Who Are You Talking To?

“Women speak because they wish to speak, whereas a man speaks only when driven to speak by something outside himself-like, for instance, he can’t find any clean socks.” ― Jean Kerr

I talk for a living.

These days I am living by myself. This situation is made even more solitary by the quarantine situation we are all enduring. I find myself roaming through the house doing a lot of talking aloud and often stop and wonder, “who are you talking to?”

I do realize that my situation leaves me brimming with words to spill out on to others when the rare social occasion arrives. This seems odd to me because historically I’ve not usually someone who feels the need to share – I will always entertain, but not always reveal. But these days, I can’t seem to stop talking.

Dear friends had dinner with me last week. I had told myself AGAIN to please keep my mouth shut and listen more. Halfway through the evening I realized I was feeling hoarse and suddenly became horrified – have I really been talking that much? Like some sort of prisoner released from solitary confinement out of the Russian gulag? What’s wrong with me?

Is this need for social connection really that powerful? This desire to communicate, to be heard, to share our experiences, to know deep down that we are not alone? I think I’m bumping into a yes answer to much of this. I can show you in all sorts of textbooks why this is true, but now I seem to know it from my own lived experience.

“When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him. In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” ― Albert Camus

Even using technology; texting, emails, zooms, and face-timing have all made this life we are now living so much more bearable. We complained before about how technology had wormed its way into every crook and cranny of our living – but now we ought to be so thankful for these tools that allow human connections to continue – people are joking about that guy’s funny shirts on laptop meetings.

Where would I be if I didn’t have all of these people in my life constantly throwing out lifelines of connection to me? All those taken for granted bits of small talk, shared experiences and personal updates? These little webs of interconnection hold us together AND hold us individually together inside (keep us from turning into a cat lady).

Some Down and Dirty Rules for Talking

Listen to yourself: if you’re talking so much, so fast, dominating the time and space, then you’re not hearing yourself. You’re breaking the speed limit. Slow down when you’re no longer aware of what and how you’re speaking to everyone else in the room. Don’t become a mindless word processor that doesn’t know when to shut up or slow-down or back up.

Listen to the other person: The best conversationalists are not the talkers but the hearers. How do you know someone is hearing you? They look you in the eye, they ask follow up questions, their expressions match the mood you are setting with your story. Don’t stomp all over the end of each other’s conversation because you’ve become over-eager to tell your own story. As we get older I think this might happen because we’re all afraid if we don’t spit it out now, we will forget!

Watch your body language: Being isolated like this has kept us from being in shared space where we use body language to communicate so much of our experiences. Now, wearing a face mask will continue to make this difficult. The eyes become that much more essential conveyors of emotion. But if you’re not even going to look at someone or if you’re on a computer screen with your eyes off camera watching something else, body language is lost. This is such an important dimension of communication, when we miss out on it, it’s too late that we discover the poverty of the interaction.

Who ARE You Talking To?

What if this season of isolation was a time when you could do some more talking with God? Maybe you could make some good happen out of this misery? It’s been my experience that when we regularly talk with God our levels of frustration, fear and despair seem to diminish. Circumstances might not change, but our outlook and perspective is altered when we are consistently talking with God.

“For many of us prayer means nothing more than speaking with God. And since it usually seems to be a quite one-sided affair, prayer simply means talking to God. This idea is enough to create great frustrations. If I present a problem, I expect a solution; if I formulate a question, I expect an answer; if I ask for guidance, I expect a response. And when it seems, increasingly, that I am talking into the dark, it is not so strange that I soon begin to suspect that my dialogue with God is in fact a monologue. Then I may begin to ask myself: To whom am I really speaking, God or myself?” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen

I think this is exactly right! But maybe now there is time, time to be silent, time to be still and wait. Maybe during the lock-down in your life, there is time to listen for an answer – maybe even one that’s been there all along.

 

I’ve got a favor to ask:

  1. If you’re not already doing so, click on the link to “follow” this blog
  2. Share this blog with someone else (ask them to “follow”)
  3. Post a comment below – let me know you’re out there – you don’t have to write anything, just encourage…

 

11 thoughts on “Who Are You Talking To?

  1. I am out here and love reading your Devotional articles……they always get me thinking.

    Thanks and God Bless,

    Craig

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  2. *Dr. Randy Wilson* . . . just curious . . . *have you sent a drone to spy on me? *So much in this post is an exact description of me, my situation. While I’ve always talked a lot (just ask *Russ*) – talking a lot does necessarily mean that I’m saying a lot. However, lately I just can’t seem to shut up (even when I can see that others are trying to get away from me). I’m hoping this email is just to you – I did not want your other followers to see that I am so afflicted. 🙃🤔

    I pray for *God’s love* to continue to work *in* and *through* you as you journey through all the mazes of the grief process in dealing with *Dawn’s* loss. I so admire the way you demonstrate such a strong faith in God through these trying circumstances. You’re the best example I know of . . . ever!

    ALso, I really appreciate your posts – they are insightful and powerful . . . and, they make me think. I’m so, so glad *Leann* shared them with me & encouraged me to become a follower — good stuff!

    OK – I’ll hush now. *Be blessed, and be a blessing!!!*

    [image: Picture] *Jane* * Jane Young* * Cell: 571-447-8303*

    On Sun, Jul 26, 2020 at 11:38 AM The Invisible Man wrote:

    > Randy Wilson posted: ” “Women speak because they wish to speak, whereas a > man speaks only when driven to speak by something outside himself-like, for > instance, he can’t find any clean socks.” ― Jean Kerr I talk for a living. > These days I am living by myself. This situatio” >

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  3. I love reading your blog posts. So many times I have opened a post and read it and it applied to exactly what is going on in my life right then! I first started following you when a good friend of mine and yours, Pam Fordtran, told me about your blog. At that time a very close friend was journeying through metastatic breast cancer that had recurred after 20 years. So many times I felt alone and my heart truly hurt and it was often your words that touched me. At the time you were walking a very similar journey with your precious wife. I felt like you really knew what I was feeling. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with me and so many others!

    And please keep listening to God and talking to us!

    Lisa Boggs

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  4. Randy,
    Thank you for writing these blogs. I think you definitely are able to articulate what is going on in many lives. It resonates as true and good reminders for life and relationships. We all need these things (kind of rails that keep us on track), and I appreciate your intentionality for sharing in this way. I imagine that there are many like me reading your blog, that share it with others from time to time, but rarely stop to thank you. Not everyone has such a gift to be able to name these things that we often are processing, but don’t quite know how to express. It is a good work and not in vain.

    Brenda Woods

    Like

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