This week I had a visit with a good friend of 5 years now. We met innocently enough at a local coffee house and talked over hot coffee and warm pastries.
We spent about 2 hours together and I left with a bitter –sweet awareness.
The Sweet – We listened and talked to each other. We asked questions to better understand perspectives. We recalled life experiences and things we had read or seen to add depth and breadth to the conversation. We wondered together. We laughed, debated and share silence. I left feeling grateful for the time and stimulated in my thinking and creativity. Not once did we look at our phones or open a laptop or tablet.
The Bitter - I don’t have lingering, flesh-to-flesh, conversations nearly enough. I know I am busy at work and at home. I know the trend is for 140 character interactions, slinging videos and swapping texts, - trite verbal exchanges (and I’m very good at those – #justsaying), but I know it’s not enough.
Have we somehow developed into a culture where conversation has been replaced with brief proclamations and affirmations? Has the art of reflective inquiry (was there ever such an art?) become too complicated, too time consuming, too hard? I think one of the reasons that I love sharing coffee with others – just about anyone – is that it slows things down and creates a moment for conversation. It is hard to be in a hurry when you are trying to drink very HOT liquids!
My life needs more time for coffee and conversation, more space for debating, wondering with others. What about you? Care to join me for a cup of Joe?