Bob sat in front of me, nursing a cup of black coffee. With down cast eyes and a monotone voice he told me about his encounter with his future father-in-law. He was asking if he could marry this man’s daughter. Normally such an encounter is ripe with all sorts of emotion……this is a high risk event, it is a true adventure and there was no emotion. I wanted to understand! As I asked questions and tried to understand, I realized that Bob himself did not understand.
I have come to believe that all good stories have at least two key ingredients. Ingredient one is represented by the facts……by the events. “I want the facts and nothing but the facts!” This is where most stories start and it is where they end. Most of us are trained to regurgitate facts because that is the bedrock of our academic system. We believe that the facts represent the heart of the story. They do not!
Ingredient two is the story of our emotions. How did that event/situation make you feel? What was going on inside of you? This might be the most important part of the story. It is certainly that part of the story that brings contrast and vibrancy. It is the epicenter to laughter and tears. It is the place where most stories seem to dead end. Why, because we are not connected to our heart in any way that allows us to understand what is going on, inside. Therefore, we sit alone with our interior chaos.
Stop right now and write down how you are feeling? How aware are you of the topography of your heart? What words did you use to describe your feelings?
Read through this list and pick out words that describe how you are feeling right now!
This list is not complete but it is a beginning. As you read through this list you can connect words to that which is going on inside. You can help a person understand, as you begin to understand, the feelings that are swirling around inside. This understanding of our interior topography allows us to connect to ourselves, to others and to our God. This connection facilitates true intimacy!
The writers of the Psalms in the Old Testament were quite good at connecting words to their emotions and their communication with God was vibrant. I challenge you to increase your feeling vocabulary. Use that vocabulary to grow closer to your interior world, to selected others and to your God.
In case you are wondering, Bob looked at the list and selected: inadequate, apprehensive and confused. These words seemed to summarize his current interior world. His understanding brought a smile to his face! Then, when I summarized what I had heard him say about the events and the feelings, he sensed I understood and he knew I cared!
I challenge you to grow your feeling vocabulary and communicate intimately to your loved ones and to your God!
Share with us….what are you feeling right now?
Amp the Joy! Dick