Friday, April 25, 2008

Cry for conversation

Dialogue. From the earliest age, we cry for conversation. I can remember my children insisting that I pay attention to them from an early age. "Looky me momma! Momma! Momma, look!"

Now they are much older, but they have not outgrown their cry for conversation.

The other night, my oldest son wandered into my office. We had been talking while I cleaned up the kitchen after dinner. He decided to continue our dialogue as I made my way to another part of the house. "What do you want to talk about now?" Uh ... stall, stall. "Honey, I really have to finish my lesson for tomorrow..." I sensed he was just killing time, or merely enjoying our time together. I knew there was no urgent need for conversation.

I have a friend who is an alcoholic. Unfortunately, she is not sober right now nor has she been for quite some time. Let's call her Carol. Carol makes a date with me every week to have coffee. About 30 minutes before our date, she calls to postpone, cancel or reschedule (avoid). Curiously, she will call 3 or 4 more times after that to talk to me. Often, she obsesses over one insignificant point in the previous conversation to use as a launching point; justification for the call.

It's obvious to me that this is her cry for conversation. Her need for dialogue. He desire to engage and be engaged. It's 1 p.m. and she's three sheets to the wind, but the desire is there all the same. Today I implored with her to get some help. "I don't want to go to your funeral!" I insisted. She lamented that she often imagines her funeral; imagines there will be 3 people there -- her body in the casket, the preacher and me. She insists that no one else gives a damn about her. I ask her, "Why do you suppose that is?" Silence. Then I suggest, "Maybe everyone else is worn out."

The funny thing is, I am worn out too. So with each subsequent phone call, I cut to the chase with her even faster. Finally, I tell her, "Carol, stop replaying our conversations after we hang up. Stop thinking so much! Do something else! Go to the gym! Get some exercise! Make use of the good chemicals your body can produce for you; a pure and healthy high."

We are all born with the cry for conversation. Yet people cannot fulfill this need in us completely. I tell the ladies in recovery nearly every week, "We were created to be in a relationship with God." Our need for God can be like the pink elephant in the room. It's so obvious, yet for some reason, we don't go there.

I have often suggested that we are born with a God-shaped hole in our soul. Throw anything else down the hole and it becomes a bottomless pit. I've been challenged on my view that much of addiction comes from tossing chemicals down that God hole; trying to fill the void with the wrong things. Perhaps that interpretation isn't entirely correct, but certainly our souls have needs that only God can satisfy; not money, not prestige, not creative outlets, not children, not lovers, not power, not fame, not leisure, not intellectual pursuits, not material possessions, not health. God.

Seek first the Kingdom of God. Perhaps our first conversation every day should be with Him. Perhaps our last as well, and many in between. I find the more I talk with God, the more I need to talk with God (I say need, not want, as I constantly struggle with committing to God time.)

Who better to engage in conversation than the lover of my soul?

No comments: