One of my enduring mantras goes something like this, “There’s no such thing as an idle conversation.” That’s why many of my verbal interchanges with other people end up being more than an exchange of pleasantries. In that vein of thinking, I’m pretty sure that there’s such a thing as “holy conversations,” those rare times when earnest exchanges become inspiring and inspired. It might even be possible that intimate conversations are one of the most pleasurable aspects of growing older.
What makes a conversation holy? This kind of personal sharing may take on an aura of sacredness when its outcomes go beyond mere transfer of information, when people find common understanding about important matters. The end result of a holy conversation could be the start or strengthening of a personal bond.
“Holy” suggests exaltation or exultation about newly discovered insights or similarities, Or perhaps realizing that there’s a godly tone to these moments—such as witnessing shared spiritual beliefs or identity. Fierce devotion—to a cause, truth or action—might also be revealed. During its course, a holy conversation may suddenly feel as though God is guiding the meandering course of give-and-take discourse—a sense of otherness or ineffability.
Think of these possible instances of holy conversation: Have you ever talked long into the day or night with a new friend, when every important subject that could ever be raised gets considered by the two of you? Do you remember the anguished conversations you’ve had with people who needed good news from you—or you needed it from them? Have there been times when you were alone with someone—a lengthy bus ride, hike or bedside vigil for a loved one—and you found yourselves letting down all your guards and speaking openly and honestly about anything? Have you ever been surprised by a conversational partner who suddenly revealed his/her spiritual depth? Do you remember what it felt like to have conversations with a newly beloved person, when romance waited while the discussion circled deeper into discovery of that person’s lovable characteristics? And how about the times when your prayer life included actual (spoken out loud) conversations with God?
I’ve experienced many of the situations I’ve described above. In each case, I’ve realized that these moments and these places were also “holy ground”—helping me remember not only the content of wonderful conversations, but also the specifics of their settings. And those memories have lasted for decades.
Holy conversations can be extraordinary and precious gifts in the middle of a rushed, profane life. Now that you’re an older adult, you may be blessed with the time required for sacred moments of sharing and learning. You may also have access to quiet settings where these profound conversations can take place. And you probably hold dearly to a spirit of learning and sharing that can be the core requirement for these holy moments.
I want to encourage you to seek out folks with whom a holy conversation would be uplifting and encouraging. Folks who need to hear gospel words from your soul. Folks who could offer you God’s wisdom in the simple gift of their careful hearing of your inner thoughts.
Because of the Spirit’s living inside of you, your older adulthood can lean towards holy conversations, and you can share in these blessings at this time in your life.