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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)

TITLE: From the Heart
By Yvonne Leigh


She leans back in her chair and crosses her legs, and I know that she has made her decision. Training in salesmanship has taught me to, “assume the sale,” and I begin to fill in the credit application. If she doesn’t want the encyclopedia, she’ll stop me somewhere in the list of financial questions. One thing I cannot do is change her mind from the decision she’s made.

A hundred excuses for why she can’t buy anything means that the real excuse is the one she didn’t mention; she can’t afford them. If her husband needs to approve the purchase, then I offer time for another appointment in order to honor his opinion. If she doesn’t want another appointment, then she has decided that she doesn’t want the books. If she offers coffee or other refreshments, she’s offering to trust me, and if I refuse them, I am rejecting her and only want her money. Language involves a complicated messaging system that is more than the spoken word.

In a restaurant you see a variety of communication quirks. Certain unpleasant customers cannot be pleased by the service or the food. They need to justify not paying a tip for their service and, instead of just not paying it, they find fault with their server or the restaurant. Male customers who go too long between meals, come in with scowls on their faces and sharp words for everybody within striking distance. Food will turn them from lion to lamb. Crying and misbehaving children are very hungry and tired. Excited and unusually active children can smell pizza.

My favorite is the friendly man at the buffet table waiting his turn to serve himself. He’ll have his dinner plate in his hand, tucked up under the same armpit, as he visits with fellow patrons in line. Since that’s the way a lot of men carry their Bible, and this one carries it a lot, he’s telling you that he’s a preacher; probably Baptist.

We have learned to read body language, whether we know it or not. We know friend from foe by their postures and facial expressions. Body gestures, as well as language, differ from culture to culture, and they are part of the way we communicate with one another. It seems we were designed that way.

Our entire bodies enter into spiritual communication. With our voices we speak to God in prayer. Spiritual songs and hymns make a joyful noise of celebration; twirling about in a holy dance puts our feet to worship; shouts of praise pay tribute to the Creator. With hands uplifted, we offer worship, surrender, and supplication. Kneeling in submission acknowledges God’s superiority. A portion of our livelihood is presented in honor of His provision. And another prayer is offered in silence, heard only by God, as the heart speaks then waits for the still, small voice which carries the message from Heaven.

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This article has been read 291 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jeanne E Webster 10/21/10
You offer a different method of conversing, through body language. Great insight! An interesting article and well presented. Blessings. :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/22/10
You presented an interesting essay on communication. Although it didn't talk a lot about conversation it was still interesting to see your POV. Thanks for sharing your insight.
Lollie Hofer10/25/10
Good devotional thoughts here...gives me a lot to chew on. I laughed out loud about the man with the plate under his arm - good insight.
Dolores Stohler10/27/10
Your story had me nodding in agreement -- yes, yes, just so! This need to read facial expressions is the reason why I use the telephone only for business or emergencies. When I speak to someone, I watch for clues as to how my words are affecting them. When I detect disinterest or disagreement in their face or posture, I shut up. Actually, I think really good listeners are rare. I've only known a few of them in my lifetime, which is long. My doctor is one of them. Thanks for writing this.