One of the common ways that we avoid grief is through idle talk.
I do most of my writing in public places. As I sit in coffee shops and nurse my mug of java or enjoy a beer at the local pub, I often experience idle talk all around me. I don’t intend to listen in but sometimes people talk so loudly that it’s inevitable. Most of what I hear is chitchat, complaining, arguing, or gossiping. Tune in sometimes to conversations around you. So often there isn’t much substance or depth.
This happens not just at coffee shops and pubs – I find that there can also be a lot of idle chat following the death of someone whom we love. Even though we are experiencing something very deep in lives, we tend to want to talk about things that don’t take us to our sadness, loneliness and missing. We converse on the surface. Strangely, our family and friends also respond with idle talk too and take their cue from us to not go deeper.
Grief can be one of the most transformational and life-changing experiences that we enter into, if we chose to enter into it. If others are willing to engage us at a deeper level and we are able to engage meaningfully, conversations of significance can change more people than just the one who is grieving.
Perhaps it’s time to ask more questions of those who are grieving and to give fewer answers as we listen to their responses.
Why not go beyond idle talk to deeper conversation?