I was relayed this story several years ago by a young acquaintance, and even if it is legend, even if it's no longer true (or never really was true), it's worth repeating.
The young people gather in the evenings and make food together. They pass the time, eating and drinking, watching movies, playing games, and in conversation...
But the odd thing is--my acquaintance said--when someone speaks they leave space between speakers. White Space. Blank Space. Empty moments. Pregnant pauses. They allow a speaker to finish, the words just spoken finding time to be digested, and then the next speaker chimes in with their thoughts.
Can you imagine? I teach a class of fourth to sixth graders once a week. Our time together is often a raucous bellow of one speaker fighting for air space, and another one sulking, and a third poised to chime in. And some in the circle never speak, because it's just too much trouble. So I tell this story every year, to inspire them toward something different, and we work on it All Year Long!
"You just interrupted me!"
I don't know. I feel as though our American ethos needs some mending. I feel as though all of our easy-ness, whether it comes to our daily chores, our stomachs and how we feed ourselves, how we dress, or how we speak, could use some thoughtful attention. We need white space. We need pregnant pauses. We need prayer. Whether that means hanging the clothes on the line instead of throwing them in the dryer, sitting outside with our cup of coffee to hear the birds chirp before we speed off to work, or simply listening to that person next to us with our full attention. So much attention that we wait, we wait some more, we think about their thoughts, and then we offer our own.
Maybe if we thought of speech as humble offererings? ...
Published: August 6, 2016 | Filed under: Me