"Yes, ten minutes."
"But I can't talk for ten minutes. What will I say?"
"Well start by answering the question, how has God affected your life?"
"Kind of a broad question, don't you think? I mean, that could be anything."
That is how the last half of my Ministry Formation class started. We were to separate into eight groups of three people, all of whom we were not supposed to know prior to the beginning of this course.
Oh, how I hate that. I am such an introvert and would love so much to just talk non-stop to someone I know. Okay, maybe that isn't true either, but it has happened. Luckily they woke up before we ran off the road. :-)
Alright then, if we must. So I am in a group with two other women, one older than me, the other younger. I am to observe first, while 'B' - the older talks to 'M' - the younger.
First observation, B does bot feel comfortable, at all, and is obviously holding back. Oh wait, now M is interrupting B in an attempt to get B to share more. B stalls four more times, and each time M asks a question to get B started again. There were two instances of M interrupting B, four instances of M using questions to get B talking a little more, and one question that was never asked, that maybe should have been, so I asked it.
Basically B said something about how her daughter was questioning God and if it was wrong to not believe when receiving the Eucharist. I asked how old the daughter was, and for the simple fact that if she were five you would answer one way, while if she were sixteen you would answer another. She was sixteen.
Time's up! Switch.
My turn to talk, B's turn to listen and M's turn to observe. I start by saying that God has always been a part of my life and how I came over to the Roman Catholic side of the fence, from the Russian Orthodox side. You know, same sacraments, same Saints, same Popes, until about 1000 AD, then... well let's just say there was a difference in opinion. Not like the Reformation kind of change, more of a we slightly disagree with what your Pope has to say, so we won't listen to him anymore. Maybe we can get together and have a coffee sometime. A sort of trial separation if you will, something that won't hurt the kids too much.
Anyway, I go on and talk for my ten minutes, it actually felt like it went faster than when I was observing. Both B and M felt that I did a good job communicating, whereas I felt like I was going off on too many tangents. Kind of like what I do here. :-)
Times Up! Switch!
M's turn to talk, my turn to listen and B's turn to observe. M talked about a lot and didn't really say anything. Sounds mean, but it is really true. In one thought she is expressing how she doesn't want to trust God, and in the next how she wanted to become a Nun, maybe. Then how she is a youth minister, yet dreads going through the whole Confirmation process with her charges. AND, she is quite the "physical" talker. By that I mean, her hands were flying everywhere, her eyes never stayed in one location longer than five seconds and she kept fidgeting in her seat. Very distracting. She also made it hard for me to bring her up for air, and give her something else to chew on, via a question.
I told her that while I appreciated her story and did follow most of it, I found all of her movements to be quite distracting, and that I couldn't get a question in for clarification until almost eight minutes in. Whew! B said that she noticed M had a lot to say and that she too wanted to ask a question, or three, but didn't find any natural breaks or breathes and that all of the hand motions and eye rolling was a distraction as well. Then she told me that I was a "physical" listener.
Okay she just stole my line, darn it!
Also, that it looked as though I was uncomfortable. I was, and it was because M kept bouncing around, both with her words and her actions.
That was the second half of class yesterday. Maybe I'll share the first half tomorrow. I have to go to bed right now, because I NEED to get up and go to work early tomorrow.
R.I.P. Heath Ledger (1979-2008)