It’s been a few months since I have posted, but right now I am craving conversation. There is a lot of ranting and lecturing, finger-pointing and condemnation going around right now, but not much conversation.
I scroll through my News Feed, dragging pictures and articles past. Fewer and fewer make me smile, and some are so heavy that I can’t keep scrolling. I read and try to make sense of an event or idea, try to digest some dreadful story that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Next is a post shared by a friend–38 comments. For some reason I always have to click and read through the arguments that too often consist of name-calling and self-righteous putdowns. So much of the time it’s just talking past each other; proving ourselves right is the only real objective.
We just don’t listen anymore.
I think conversations about the important, controversial questions of our day are essential, but what I am seeing more and more does not resemble conversation. It feels like fighting. We speak to win and listen only to refute. To me that is not listening. It’s like I’m ducking and dodging my way through an ideological battlefield every time I open Facebook. And yeah, sometimes I want to throw my own verbal jab. It’s tempting to rattle off a few lines on my keyboard, put someone who disagrees with me in their place. It is so easy, almost instinctive, to pick a side and feed the fight. It grows and grows and our words become vicious and their damage permanent. Bridges burn and relationships break and with all this shouting and winning and losing it becomes nearly impossible to just listen.
It’s a new year, and for me it’s the start of a new semester. In my relationships, in my classes, in my prayers and on my social media, I am going to try my best to listen. Maybe you will listen with me, and maybe one day we’ll even have a conversation.