We live our lives on many levels. The surface level is what we most often express outwardly, while inwardly our thoughts and heart explore an incomprehensible spectrum of emotions and worldviews.
We all have a level at which we feel most alive. A level that we feel was made for us. For some of us, we are most comfortable with small talk, with witty banter and recounting positive/funny stories about what happened the other day. For others, we like to live on a deeper, more intellectual level. These type of people ask the big, “why” questions of the universe, and love working out different answers to those questions. And still even others enjoy living in touch more with their emotions, taking the big “why” questions and making them personal to their lives. These are people who open up to one another about their struggles and heartaches. These aren’t always the most uplifting conversations, but they are necessary.
And throughout my short life I have come to realize how important it is the spend time on each of these levels. The person who spends too much time on the surface level will be thought of as shallow, fake, or incapable of being authentic. But at the same time, no one wants to spend time with someone who is constantly burdening everyone with world changing questions about the universe. Just as no one wants to spend all their time with someone who is constantly lamenting over yet another broken heart. As Solomon says, there is a time and season for all things.
Of course we will have our level of communication that we feel most comfortable with, and we will find people who live on that same level with us, and they will be our great friends. But we must also surround ourselves with different minded people, this will help us to further explore being a full, expressive human being, instead of a one track minded robot.
Community is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. He says, “it is not good for man to be alone”. Community is impossible without conversation. To understand how we converse is to study how we can more intentionally draw into a strong community. And strong community has the potential to bring so much life.