Traveling is really fun. It’s exciting, it’s challenging, it’s inspiring. My current location is Dallas, Texas. I was really excited to visit Texas because I’d never been here before–and on my list of states that I want to visit, Texas was next on the list. Next up is Oregon, but I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to get there…
Anyway, back to Texas. Everything here is so…big. I guess “they” were right when they said, “everything is bigger in Texas.” It really is. There’s so much. In addition, everything is so flat. When you drive around, you can literally see for miles without interruption. Sure, there are buildings and a few trees, but nothing like the mountains of North Carolina that I’m used to. Because of the vast amounts of space, I feel like anything is possible. The sky is the limit, and that seems ridiculous because of how much bigger the sky looks here. It’s not, in fact, bigger; but when you look up and there’s nothing to break up your line of sight, you feel really small. That’s a good way to put it–Texas makes me feel really small. Not necessarily unseen, just small.
I like feeling small. I think most girls do. (Insert feelings of insecurity or something along those lines.) It probably has something to do with wanting to feel protected. That feeling is probably also why I sleep with the covers almost completely over my face. Because I feel protected, and because that’s the most comfortable way to sleep (in my opinion).
But feeling small isn’t really what I want to talk about, maybe another time, but not now.
Right now, I want to talk about questions…
I’ve been asked quite a few questions on this trip. I’ve stayed with 2 families. (1st: my pseduo aunt and uncle, and then my real aunt and uncle + their children, my cousins.) Both families haven’t seen me in a while. The first since I was 5, and the second has seen me sporadically over the past 6-7 years, but not long enough to really spend much time with me. And what’s the best way to get to know someone? To ask them questions.
I’ve been asked easy questions, hard questions, open ended questions, close ended, and questions that lie various places in between. I’ve liked it and I haven’t. I want to be known, but I don’t always want to be exposed. I want interest to be taken in me, but I want to be selective with what I share. The questions that I’ve been asked have been acute, specific, detail oriented. They’re like this because there’s so much ground to be covered in a short amount of time. Nothing has been forced, quite the opposite, just direct. I like it, but it’s weird…
At school, we talk and ask questions all the time. My best friends know what to ask and when and why. Their direct, straight forward, minute, detailed questions don’t bother me, they’re welcomed…regularly. Why is that? Probably because I’m around them so much, probably because we do life together. My aunt and uncle and cousins are a part of my life, but they’re also apart from my life. So, when the deep questions get asked (which I love) it makes me nervous at first because I know that the only “follow up” that will ensue, will only really happen while I’m here, with them in the flesh. Not to discount the age of communication we live in, but it’s way easier to keep in touch in person, is it not?
Questions are good, but they’re dangerous. They allow you to get answers, but once you get those answers, you have them. In that same way, if you’re the one giving the answers, once you’ve given them, you can’t take them back.
So I write this post not to say that asking and answering questions is bad. Because it’s not, it’s good, really good. Instead, I write because I want you, reader, to think about the questions you ask, the way you ask them, why you ask them. I want you to think about the answers you give to the questions you’re asked. I want you to appreciate good conversation, I want you to appreciate the beauty of yes and no, sharing and holding back, pondering and blurting.
Ask questions. Answer them, too. Don’t be afraid to go deep, but don’t shy away from the surface level dance that may need to take place. Sit in silence, laugh and listen in the loud. Talk and think. Along the way, learn about other people, appreciate them for their similarities and love them for their differences. Know yourself and learn even more.
I’m learning this too, and what a cool lesson this is.
[Jesus, thank You for the mind you given me and for the beauty of conversation. Teach me how to talk and listen and learn and love like You.]