Walking and Talking

Senior’s Drop-In “Talk and Walk” Wednesdays 10:00 AM beginning January 18th – April 26th. Ann would like to invite you to join her on Wednesday mornings for coffee, conversation and if you so wish, a bit of exercise! Our building has the perfect lay-out for a safe winter walking trail, laps around the gym and through our meandering hallways! If walking is not your cup of tea, then just come and socialize over a hot cup of tea or coffee and enjoy each other’s company. The last Wednesday of each month Kevin will join us at 10:45 AM to engage us in stimulating conversation with a thought provoking question…that should prove to be very interesting! I look forward to seeing you on the 18th and bring a friend if you like!

Is there anything more interesting and satisfying than walking and talking? I bet you know that these are my favorite activities! I get a kick out of reading the various profiles written by my colleagues on their church’s website. Because the vast majority of mainline clergy are introverts it will not surprise you to know that on these profile pages my colleagues will tell the reader how “listening” is their favorite activity. Again, this is the gift to Ministry that introverts bring, they are not big mouths like me! They are not in a rush to tell you something as they like to listen, discern, and reflect.

When I am sitting with a person who is in distress, troubled, full of doubt and worry, I am tempted as an extrovert to jump in with words. I do not give advice, I am not one of those extroverts. I am not a know-it-all, even my detractors would agree with that assessment. But I do fill the void with words. Introverts are generally comfortable with silence, they let the gaps between words seep in, and often these silences give birth to insights by the very one who is searching for wisdom. The single greatest gift a listener gives to the person in crisis is the silence that carries the possibility that the Spirt can lead, reveal, and give birth to something new and healing.

But there is one thing that extroverts like me, that is persons eager and curious to know more about the other, can bring to a searching conversation and that is the ability to stimulate further reflection with a good question. Authentically interested people like me want to know more about the other and those questions give life to both the listener and the other. For me there is insight in how others process and live into challenges, for the other the question may provoke a discernment about how s/he is living, why s/he is making certain choices, and what are really the priorities that are behind the decisions that must be made.

Walking and talking allows the whole body to be moving and engaged. I find that this engagement opens one’s spirit to questions and insight otherwise never considered. There has never been a time in my life when an important decision or the search for a creative approach did not appear in my mind in the midst of vigorous walk. So being the extrovert I am excited by Ann’s idea to bring seniors together and walk every week. My role is to provoke conversation with a good question and hopefully this will reveal priorities we may have forgotten in our scattered lives. There won’t be a lot of delicious silences but there will be some quirky questions. I am excited by what lies ahead.