Recently I was reflecting on the Families in Global Transition conference held in March. As I thought about the conference, I smiled with the memories that came. So many new friendships were formed, so many substantive talks, so much laughter. And along with that came many unfinished conversations, so many “I wish I had had a chance to speak to so and so.” There were so many moments of connection, but so many more moments that I wanted.
But conferences like this come to an end, and we are left wistfully remembering, wishing for more time to finish conversations.
Three years ago after a family graduation I wrote a piece called “Unfinished Conversations.” I am reposting this piece today as I think back on the conference. Enjoy!
We have family visiting this weekend. My younger brother and sister-in-law, my mom and dad, a niece, and a baby I just met – another niece.
And with these people who I love comes the wonderful problem of unfinished conversations.
I think you know what I mean. You are with people you love and the words come fast and furious. Sitting around the table eating dinner you jump from one topic to another – first we are talking about family, then a friend, then a situation, then a feeling, then more feelings, then an event that sparked deep growth in our souls – but we are talking so fast and furious we want to get so much in that the conversations remain unfinished. So we see them the next morning and it starts up again over tea and coffee. “Finish telling me about this.” “I wanted to ask you about that.” “When we get a minute remind me to tell you about the other.” It continues through the day and all the activities of the day.
Lunch – another unfinished conversation. Afternoon tea with solid, chipped mugs or fragile, china cups – unfinished conversations. Night time talk over dessert and mint tea – unfinished conversations, more to talk about, more to say and discuss.
Unfinished conversations – when you have so much to say, but so little time to say it.
Unfinished conversations – when your world includes many people in many places and you always feel like there isn’t enough time to talk about all the things that matter; about all the things there are to talk about.
Unfinished conversations – when the goodbyes come too soon and you board the plane, tears forming in your eyes thinking “I totally forgot to tell her about that!” When you live far away from the ones you love, and you know in your hearts, there will never be enough time for everything you want to say to each other.
But there is something far worse than unfinished conversations – and that is living close to someone your whole life, be it a family member or neighbor, and never having a substantive conversation. It is being close physically without the beauty of good communication and friendship. So I will take these unfinished conversations every time – because they tell a story of relationships, real-life lived hard and well, and joy in communicating with people you love.
I better go. An unfinished conversation has just finished taking her shower and I wouldn’t want an electronic device to interfere.
And to you? I wish you the joy of unfinished conversations today and everyday!
[Picture Credit – Statue in Old Havana, Cuba from Pixabay]