I made a new friend today.
She asked if she could sit at my table at the coffee shop.
I said, “Of course!”
She sat and started asking questions.
She was comfortable in her skin and embraced the day and the moment.
I, comfortable in my own skin, embraced the moment as well
and as a result we had a wonderful conversation, as strangers.
She has two cats.
Lives close to the coffee shop.
She is headed to Michigan today to give two presentations.
She became a Christian at a university in Ohio.
She has lived in Ohio and Michigan – me too.
Was in New Orleans during the hurricane that came through town.
Her sister lives in Michigan.
I know where she works, the name of her cat who passed away,
where she attends church and how long she has lived in Atlanta.
We sipped coffee and enjoyed the conversation –
as if we did this every week.
As we said goodbye, we shook hands and
realized we didn’t know each others names.
Our names were not even necessary in order to have a conversation.
This was a lesson in the art of conversation.
I felt seen and heard and I hope that she did too.
I hope that she felt that her place
in our community mattered – because it does.
This was a lesson in being. In talking just to know someone.
No agenda, no jockeying for position,
no set up for future conversations.
It was refreshing in a way I never
expected a conversation with a stranger to be.
My sister recently share some information about
friendships that she heard on a podcast.
Shasta Nelson shares that healthy friendships
have three requirements: Seen, Safe and Satisfying.
These are all in the context of a long-term friendship –
not a happenstance meeting over a shared table at
my local coffee shop.
Nonetheless: Today I felt seen, safe and satisfied.
Definitely not something I expected to happen
this morning as I left the house to
work at the coffee shop.
The gift of conversation and embracing the moment left
me in a better place.
Not every conversation is going
to go this way, I know –
I think it is possible to pursue this in my conversations.
The best conversations are ones where each person
feels seen, safe and satisfied.
I can speak from experience that it is a gift
and it changed my day.
What if each person set out to have this
kind of interactions with others?
How might our communities be different?
How would we serve our neighbors differently?
How would priorities change?
How would tensions unravel and
preconceived ideas be debunked?
So, new friend – I pray your two presentations are fun and fulfilling.
Say hi to the Michigan air and leaves for me.
Thanks for the chat this morning
and the lesson in the art of conversation.