“Love without conversation is impossible.”
–Mortimer Adler, American author
As I’ve mentioned several times in this blog, I spend quite a bit of time at a local coffee shop near my home. Not only does the space serve as my regular office but it also serves as a place where I can meet all kinds of interesting people and have fascinating conversations. Of course, I always believe God is up to something whenever I have one of these encounters with people and I make myself as available to God’s agenda as I can.
One of the things that I’ve learned lately is to try to keep any conversation going for as long as possible. Someone might prompt a conversation with me by asking a simple question or making a simple comment. Whenever that happens, I have two options. I can choose to answer simply and let the conversation end there. Or I can keep the conversation going often by making another observation or asking another question in return. More often than not, I find that people are eager to have a chat and are equally grateful to just connect with another human being.
Here’s an example of this in action. A few months ago, I was seated at the coffee shop typing away on my laptop. A gentleman in front of me was sipping coffee and reading the paper. At some point in time, he turned around and asked me if there was Wi-Fi in the store. I responded in the affirmative. Now I could have left the conversation at that. But at the time, I was learning to keep the conversation going. So I asked him a simple question in return: “Why are you asking?” It turns out he was just curious and really didn’t need Wi-Fi at the time (which makes me wonder if all he wanted was just somebody to talk to). By keeping the conversation going, I opened the door wide for even more conversation and I was able to learn a slew of things from the man. I learned that he was a retired accountant. I learned that he had a grandson. In fact, he was waiting for his grandson’s karate lesson to finish. That’s what he was doing in the coffee shop. Of course, I also got to share about my life and my beliefs at appropriate times in the conversation. All of this happened because I was willing to keep the conversation going.
Whenever a stranger prompts a conversation with you, I encourage you to be open to that and see if you can keep the conversation going. One of the best ways is to ask another question in return or to make an observation. Who knows what kind of Spirit-led conversation might arise from those encounters?