Small Talk

Good morning. How are you?
I'm fine.
Yeah, that's why I'm here.

Small Talk
by ric booth

We stroll this grave yard he and I
And mingle while I watch him die

He neither hears nor looks your way
I ask “good mourning?” ev’ryday

And he echos me with out you
Talking small that’s what we do.

His back reveals he could not care.
Programmed response, no hearts laid bare.

Now thinking back upon this man,
Did he just ask us how I am?

I am not “Fine!” That’s but a curse!
A wordless f-word for this verse!
The nice will use it to profane
The inner weeping of their pain.

So when he asks me, “How are you?”
Do I risk to say what is true?

He walks on by, seems not to hear.
Our empty words are masking fear.

He knows not who he does not know
So busy dying… watch me go.

Within my heart your tears will be
No wonder why you wept for me.


10 Responses

  1. Ah Ric,
    Thanks for those thoughts to inspire.
    Small talk challenges me to relate on the surface level when either I want to dive in deep or simply swim away.
    I can not say I am fine like some coin being graded. I’d rather say I’m still circulating and in “good” condition.
    Can joy come in the mourning?

  2. Hey Sam, thanks for your take on small talk. This just seem to come yesterday… but it has been on my mind for years. I have many memories of being on both sides of this discussion and often wonder how might life be different if only…

  3. I really like the last part of “Small Talk”.

    The most thought provoking line for me is:

    “The inner weeping of their pain.”

    For me small talk is conversation starter. If the only conversations we have with people we care about is “small talk” than that can be a problem. Of course my uncle from Maine could go all day without saying a word.

  4. Haha, I think I KNOW your uncle! Well yes, Ed small talk with someone whom we just met or may never meet again is one thing. Here, I’m feeling the small talk between people who see each other ev’ryday.

  5. So when he asks me, “How are you?”
    Do I risk to say what is true?

    Man. How many times that question has gone through my mind, “Do I risk it?” I think I’m learning, AGAIN, it’s not always worth the risk. But those times when it is…wow.

    We need to get past the small talk.

    Thanks, Ric.

    Oh, and Sam, “Can joy come in the mourning?” Yes, it can.

  6. Thank you Michelle. Yeah, this one comes from some many missed opportunities. Or at least they feel like missed opportunities.

  7. I was reminded of this post when reading on another blog just a while ago:
    Greg has a post there (second down) titled, “We Are Hungry” that I really thought significant. The question he noted was, “How is Your Soul?”, as well as the temptation to answer with ‘small talk’ instead of the honesty (with self and others) that it deserves.

    I believe God won’t fill us with more of Himself until we are willing to honestly see what’s inside, admit our need, and cry out to Him for help.
    ” Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. ” NIV – Matt 5:6

    And, yes, I agree with Michelle that many times ‘mourning’ is God’s primary method to bring us to confession of our true need, the fulfilling of which will bring true joy. The joy definitely is a process though (Heb. 12:2) as Greg and his family are experiencing in the ‘cross’ they are presently ‘enduring’.

    Thanks for your insights,

  8. Thanks for the link D. I will check it later. I think I am daily challenged with this issue. How often to I walk on by? And yes, it seems it takes mourning, genuine mourning, to get real sometimes. I wonder if pain is God’s way of telling me, “Get real.”

  9. i’d probably need about a week to do all of that some ‘justice’.

    Pain sure has a way of getting our attention ‘focussed’ huh? 0 just not always on what it is He wants us to focus on. Sometimes people become ‘trapped’ in the pain and forget that life has it’s Joy outside of that pain. Forget that there is a way to live without it – or at least not being ruled by it.

    Physical pain draws our attention to the apparent source (often in our own body) and we can sometimes leave our attention ‘there’ when the cause of the pain (and the solutuion) lies ‘elsewhere’.

    Emotional pain often does the same.

    For a long time i was never a ‘fan’ of small-talk.. i so much preferred getting to the BIG issues – the ‘real’ ones. Small Talk just ‘wasted time’.

    i still think it is a ‘waste’ but some people need it before they can allow themselves to feel comfortable sharing the ‘important’ stuff.

    i’m learning to accept it in those who do.

    personally i’d rather we just learn to feel comfortable opening up to each other and being ‘real’ up-front.

    i still hate when people ask ‘how are you?’ without waiting for, or hearing the real answer given. – crying out to be heard.


  10. Hey Love, thanks for stopping by to ponder this one. The title is probably a little weak. I wonder if titling it Opportunities Lost or something of that ilk would help.

    This was part of my missed opportunities therapy. I rely on light small talk far too much. There are far too many times I am left thinking, “I should have asked about/said/mentioned/listened/etc …” I rarely walk away thinking, “Man, I handled that one well.”

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