Saturday, March 19, 2016

Verbal Badmiton

by Cheryl Merrick

Hitting the birdie over the net,
I’d wait for the return.
It didn’t come.
So I’d send another, and another, and another,
Til I saw him ankle deep in birdies.
He’d give me a strained smile.
Though obviously bored and stressed,
he valiantly held his position.
At last I’d leave the court,
frustrated with our attempts
at communication.

Now, I’ve learned that we can enjoy playing together
if I give him assists --
short specific questions he can answer.
I ask for the details of his day and really listen.
We talk while he remains
comfortably engaged in his concrete world–
  eating, loading dishes, building, driving,
  cutting vegies, weeding, cooking  etc.

I’ve taken responsibility for the success of the game.
I do research, have ideas to share,
and initiate conversation.
I provide guidance and instruction for him,
giving him communication patterns he can follow.
I ask him questions to clarify points,
and guide his thinking.
I identify problems,
and guide discussion of options.
I listen to his advice
and we formulate plans together.
I share memories, hopes, and my feelings.
I lead Gospel study and point out principles and patterns.

By using my strengths in communication,
I enable us to happily play the game of
Verbal Badminton

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