Not talking directly and openly about the main thing is like not eating enough protein. It is like not getting enough sleep.
What is the main thing? Well, if I say it you might disagree and there we go, not talking main-thing stuff again.
Recently, I talked with my daughter about sex. Now there is a main thing. Ads talk about it a lot and radio songs gush about it all over the place, and so she should know all about it, right? Not really. She’s been saturated with ads and songs and singing ads all her life, but it hasn’t gotten it, and she still didn’t know some very simple and of-the-first-order things about sex. Why? We just don’t talk about it; we let our fear of awkwardness keep us from becoming not awkward with life. So my college-aged daughter and I got down to some honest, simple, raw questions and answers. I know what she doesn’t know, and I’m the safest person in the world to let her know. Dang!
It is so easy to be honest if we just get started and so refreshing too. It’s like leaving a crowded restaurant where there is a constant din of undecipherable noise and moving to a park bench under a quiet tree and sitting close and hearing every nuance of meaning and expression in each other’s voices.
I had a conversation with some one recently about God. Who hasn’t heard of God? But there is a constant din of puzzlement about him too, and silence here too. It’s too weird. People say they can’t talk with certain people about politics or religion. So they don’t. Fine. Who need arguments? But really now? God is arguably a main thing. And he is so main he is integrated with everything else that we talk about or don’t talk about, like sex and violence and pets and movies and the weather. And not bringing him up is bizarre. He is the ultimate elephant in the room. Why wouldn’t we in our role as parent and friend and lover and consumer speak directly and personally about God.
We know stuff and kids have questions and friends have concerns. It is long past time to break the silence and say what we think to each other! Come on now. We are letting moments pass when we should be jumping on the opportunities to teach and learn and lean while we teach as we just get honest and real and verbal.
The main thing is always the thing below the surface of the thing we have chosen to talk about. To get down to it, we need only look further to the larger structure: what is the branch that is holding this leaf, the trunk that is holding this branch, the root that is holding the trunk, the earth that is holding this root, the solar system that is holding this earth, the universe that is holding this solar system, the force that is holding this universe? Questions get us deeper, closer to the main things that are so interesting and refreshing and empowering to talk about.
Main stuff needs attention. This is ridiculous. We are shutting up way too much. We are acting like we don’t know about what we do know about. Just go there. Fearlessly dive to the next level. Admit what you don’t know; say what you do know. Say it plainly, honestly and directly. People who you love need you to say it, now.