The Lost Art Of Conversation

Some of my favorite times are when I’m in a deep discussion with someone who shares my passion for whatever it is we’re talking about. Alot of times it’s with my wife when we go on long car rides. We might randomly give each other some scenario and then discuss what we would do in a situation. It may sound kinda dumb, but I think it really excersises the brain. Conversation is one of the most important aspects to being human, yet so many people don’t know how to do it anymore.

We all see it everywhere we go. People sitting next to each other glued to their phones as if nobody else existed. We are under the impression that social media brings us closer together, but come on how does a minion meme allow you to get to know someone better? It doesn’t. I recently deleted my Facebook account after I came to a startling realization: I really don’t care about most of the people I’m “friends” with. I don’t hate them, but I don’t care about what they post. Ever. And the ones I do care about, I keep in touch with their lives by actually talking to them from time to time. Now, I’m not anti-facebook. It just wasn’t for me. I know alot of people use it because they have actual friends who post actual things that are actually happening with them. And I get that. But Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; these are things we should use when there isn’t anybody around. Not when you’re sitting at the dinner table with family and friends. Put the phone down, and ask questions. Give answers. Tell jokes. Do whatever you have to do to converse with each other. Learn about each other. 

When I was at basic training for the Army, we didn’t have our phones. There were people from all over the United States and even a couple people from other countries. When we had down time on Sundays, or when we were cleaning our weapons or up at night for guard duty, we had to find something to talk about. Trust me, what you have to say isn’t stupid. We talked about everything you can imagine. Movies, food, our families, religious debates, we talked about it all. If we had our phones, none of us would have gotten to know each other near as much. Not even close. I had to find things in common with someone from a completely different culture than me. I also had to learn about them and I got insights on how different people think and how different people grow up in other parts of the country. 

It seems like every other person I meet has some sort of social anxiety or they just flat out don’t like talking to people. I understand some people can’t help real social anxiety, but alot of people who claim to have it just aren’t used to talking to people. It’s ok to say hello to a stranger on the sidewalk or to ask someone about their clothes or their phone. Get over yourself. They’re not judging you or making fun of you in their head. And even if they did, who cares?! They’re the ones missing out on getting to know you. Put away your phone and enjoy life a little bit. Learn something new about someone, whether it be a stranger or someone you’ve known your whole life. Everybody has a story, and everybody has something to say. Just remember that everybody you meet knows somethong that you don’t. Don’t waste your opportunity to learn about people by staring at your phone.


The Hardest Part (Religious Post)

First of all, I dont really like calling my walk with Christ “religious”, but I use it for lack of a better word. 

Anyway, I just had my one year anniversary. I know that’s not a long time, but i can already tell what the hardest part is. For me, the hardest part of being married is always having someone there to see you at your best, as well as at your worst. Even my parents never knew half the things I struggled with. My best friends knew only a little. But my wife knows everything that I struggle with. She is there when we are all “spiritual” and reading the Bible and praying together, but she is also there when I fall. When life gets me down and I turn my back on God. When the weight of the world is on my shoulders and I curse and scream and forsake the very God that saved my soul. I know she doesn’t judge me. I know she would never think poorly of me because of my constant hypocrisy. But knowing that another person has seen me at my lowest, that makes it so much harder to pick myself up and turn back to God. You see for me, its easy to hurt and lose myself and fall when it’s just me and God. Becasue I know that He will forgive me. I know I can turn back to Him. If I want to. If I feel like it. I dont have to make any commitments right away because there isn’t anybody else there. I know God is there, but we all know its easier to turn away from Him when no one else knows about it.

 With my wife there, I have constant accountability. And not just with spiritual matters. We’ve all started a diet then fell off the wagon in like two days. That’s just sad. But when there’s someone else there to see you fall off the wagon, it feels pathetic. Or when you need to fix the leaky faucet but you put it off way longer than you should and it worsens, you’re not the only one that has to suffer the consequences of a flooded kitchen. The same goes with the constant battle that Christians face every day. In a Christian marriage, it’s best if there is a rotation of spiritual decline. For example, sometimes I will get very discouraged and want to give up on God and quit church. But fortunately, my wife is there to lift me up and encourage me to keep going. She gets me back on my feet. And sometimes she can get discouraged and want to forget about church and God, and I will have to lift her back up. (For the record, I’m usually the one that has to be encouraged by her). That’s what I mean by a rotation. Sometimes, though, a couple can overlap their rotation with each other. Sometimes you can both be down and discouraged. And that is a very dangerous place to be in. Instead of lifting each other up, you’ll pull each other down. And the farther down in the valley you go, the more difficult it is to climb back up to the mountain top. Those are the times you need to dig in deep. Those are the times when you need to completely step out on faith. Those are the times that you are tested to see how tough your relationship truly is. When you both get down in the valley, the only one that can bring you up is God. And yes sometimes your spouse can try to drag you back down because they are still discouraged. I’ve often been that spouse. But if you truly love them, you will fight on and keep trudging up that mountainside until you get to the inevitable blessings that God has waiting for you on the other side. God’s not going to forget about you down there. In fact, He’s just waiting for you to have enough faith to look up to Him instead of yourself or even your spouse. 

Ok, bye, I love you

EditI think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been on the phone with someone we hardly know and accidentally say “bye, I love you” followed by awkward silence and a hasty explanation. Most of the time the other person understands and laughs it off. Of course, the reason we accidentally do this is because saying “I love you” has become such a trite expression in our society that, unfortunately, it’s lost alot of its meaning. 

I don’t want you to think that I’m trying to tell you how to talk, but I do want you to think about the words “I love you”. First of all, think about the last time you said it to someone. Chances are, it was when you were either hanging up the phone or saying goodbye to someone. Why do we always say I love you when we say goodbye? Well whether we realize it or not it’s because when we part ways, there’s always a chance (even a small one) that we may never see that person again. As sad as that may be, we always throw out those three words as a type of insurance. That way, the last words we ever said to that person were good ones. Why? Because there is no greater thing a person can say to another person than “I love you”. Whether it’s to your spouse, kids, parents, friends, or whoever you love, it’s always good to remind them of that. But here’s a little secret: you don’t have to say only when you say goodbye. If you’re married, for example, you can remind your spouse during dinner, during a commercial, before you go to bed, etc. If it’s to your parents, it’s ok to randomly tell them you love and appreciate them. They may become suspicious, but hey at least they know. For guys, it’s almost taboo to tell your buddy you love them. And you don’t have to make it wierd or even flat out say the words. Telling them to drive safe or just taking time to ask how their life is going is enough to show you care. And guys, it’s ok to show “feelings” every now and then. A true friend can laugh at you when you hurt yourself then a week later come give you a ride at 1 AM because your car broke down. If you can’t be real with your buddy every now and then, you might want to rethink your friendship. 

For married people, saying I love you can become so routine and so overused that you don’t even think about it anymore. I hear people all the time talking to their spouse on the phone, saying “I love you, bye”, and then turn around and talk about how much they can’t stand them. That always astounds me, yet I see it constantly. It’s because saying I love you has lost its meaning to them, and it’s not entirely their fault. That word is thrown around so often that people will use it for anything. The definition of love is “an intense feeling of deep affection”. Do you have an intense feeling of deep affection for… Pizza? Your favorite sports team? Your favorite pastime? Or do you just really like those things? Like I said, I don’t think you should change the way you talk (because I definetly won’t), but just think about how you use it.

 This goes especially for Christians. How can we use the same word that Jesus felt for us on the cross to describe some movie star or famous singer? I’m not getting on to you because I’ve said I love those things too, but next time think about it before you say it. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we all need to take the time to evaluate what is really important to us and why we love the people that we do. Don’t let that word lose its meaning  because it’s the greatest thing you could ever say to somebody.