As I struggled to convey a fact, I realized my audience of one wanted to understand, was trying to understand, but, in a harsh statement of truth, did not understand. It felt hard, almost brutal. I thought I was clear, direct, and to the point. In hind-sight, I was all those things. I was confident that my words were easy to understand and my logic was simple and easy to follow. On careful examination, both points were true. I paused, knowing it was pointless to continue.
In my reflection, I found myself looking for missing pieces. Exhausting things within, I found myself where I should have been all along, looking through the eyes of another! As I did the obvious emerged. There was no context. I have offered nothing that he could relate to as a starting point. In short, I expected him to come to me instead of me to him.
“Can I start back at the beginning?”
As the conversation unfolded, his eyes lit up, questions emerged, and a dialogue emerged from the shadows! The heart of the conversation had the same building blocks as the first attempt. The logical structure was virtually the same. There were two differences; starting point and context.
The introduction with a starting point that he could relate to became a door with a personal invitation. The change created an opportunity for an early decision and checkpoint. A yes / no question and answer with the answer being revealed through one’s body language.
The story continued with a context that had a cornerstone he had already accepted. The structure that I constructed had meaning and references to shapes, colors, and textures in his life experiences. In the conversation, nothing was totally new. It was an expansion on what was already within. The outcome was positively greater. The more familiar yet somehow bigger and better.
As we talked, I thought of a writer’s observation; “When I told my story, you [Divinity] responded; train me well in your deep wisdom.” (Psalm 119.26)
The longer the conversation continued, the more I learned.