When I was going to school both in Milwaukee and Chicago my mom used to call me at least once every other day to see how I was doing. Our conversation would usually go something like this …
“How are you doing son?”
“I’m doing fine mom. How are you and dad?”
“We’re fine. I hope you’re taking care of yourself. Be careful.”
“Okay mom. I’ll see everyone another time. Bye.”
“Okay son. Bye.”
Truthfully I thought this was how conversations were supposed to go. In my household, dad and mom did not have many long conversations with the children unless it was about something important or serious. These conversations, to me anyways, were just a part of life. If my mom knew I was okay and I knew my family was okay, that was the whole point of the phone call.
Suddenly there was a time in my schooling where I felt very isolated from everyone else. I was about 4 hours away from home and even though I had friends in the Chicago area, many of them were working at local churches or were focused on their lives after school. I felt alone and I would guess even a little depressed during those months. During this time, my mom continued to call a few times a week and I started to treasure our conversations. Every once in a while, my dad would call, and to be honest, I treasured those calls even more since he only called maybe twice a month.
I started to stretch our conversations and instead of just saying hello and hanging up right away, we started to talk about our days and the exciting things that were happening in our lives. Even though I never told my parents about my troubles, I’d like to think my parents appreciated the extended calls. They’ll never know how much those conservations carried me through the last few months of seminary.
I believe that sometimes our conversations with God are much like my earlier conversations with my parents. Short and sweet and to the point. No real content or anything different – hello and bye and that’s it. Of course, this is not what God wants or intends but because of our busy lives or just the fact we want to hurry things up – we don’t take our conversations with God very seriously. That’s until something goes wrong in our lives. That’s when we seek God the most. Suddenly our short conversations turn into pleads of help and guidance and we extend our words in hopes that God hears our prayers and answers us.
This is fine but we also must remember that a conversation goes both ways. Conversations also happen not only in times of need or want, but also on the best or the most regular of days. Even if we have nothing to pray for, why not ask God what’s on God’s mind? Instead of always waiting for God to ask us what’s wrong, maybe it’s helpful to ask God how we can help his day to be better. I know that we may think that our actions may do little to make God happy, but I like to think that God appreciates us also caring for God!
So, let’s rethink the ways we communicate and talk with God. Some days God may want to listen to us but then there are also days when God also wants to be heard as well. In this way we can truly have conversations not only because we should but because we want to!