In her book ‘Can't Wait to get to Heaven,’ Fannie Flagg wrote about a boy being given a gift of a red kite by the old lady who took him under her wing. When asked why she'd chosen that particular gift her reply was: "Well, the boy was always looking down, and I wanted something that would make him look up for a change."
I guess that there are times in everyone's life when they need to stop looking down and start looking up! The problem is that often there's nobody around with such a good idea as that old lady had. When someone comes along who can help us to look up though, we see a whole different world, and we have a different way of looking at it as well.
The old lady used that red kite as a means of communication with the boy. She would go out and fly the kite with him in her garden, and all the time he was looking up he was seeing life from a new perspective. Life became better, and it was all because someone found a way to communicate with him.
Communication is about more than words. In fact often words can seem too empty to do the job properly. So how can we become better communicators?
I think that the best place to start is with the whole concept of communication. Just imagine a world in which communication simply didn't exist. Imagine all the things we would be without!
· There would be no words and so no books.
· There would be no music.
· There would be nothing but a silence that was interrupted by our own grunts.
· With no conversation, nor the means of it, the human race would die out.
· Without communication we would be incapable of showing, or feeling, love.
John Donne wrote that: "All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated . As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness. ... No man is an island, entire of itself ... any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. " Donne recognised the need for good communication between human beings if they were to function as they were intended.
The Bible teaches us that “man does not live by bread alone, but by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” In order to live our lives in a manner that's pleasing to God we need to communicate with Him through the medium of prayer. Like all communication, prayer is a two-way happening. To pray without believing that God is listening to you becomes nothing more than a meaningless babble that will have little more than a placebo effect. For prayer to become meaningful then you need to pray believing that God hears you, that He will answer you, and you must also listen to what He says to you, remembering that communication is about much more than simply words alone.
· When you take a walk in the country then God communicates with you through the flora and fauna and the scenery, reminding you of His greatness in Creation.
· When you hear a beautiful piece of music that stirs your soul, then God is speaking to you through it.
· When you see a beautiful picture that fascinates and holds you, then God is speaking through that as well.
· When you love someone deeply, and when you are loved deeply, then God speaks to you through those feelings, reminding you that He is love and just how much He loves you.
For the greater part of my life I've been involved in communicating with people through the gift of writing, whether it be prose, verse, or song. Many of the people who read my work will never meet up with me, yet the communication is still there. Through the words that I write they will find a way to communicate with others and, more importantly, they can find a medium through which God can speak to them.
Greg Scheer - the composer with whom I write so many of my songs - and I, have never met, yet we meet up in a sense through the words themselves. We are on a similar wave-length, and that's because the words and the music of the songs communicate, linking us together.
When I write new words to an old hymn tune I am conscious that in a sense I am communicating with the composer of the tune, even though there may be one or two centuries between us. Perhaps in some future time, a new composer will decide to put new music to my words, and then in the same sense, that composer will be communicating with me.
Communication. The tool that enables us to live side by side, cheek by jowl, comfortably. Without it we are empty, devoid of feelings and without companionship. Without it we would be lost, for without communication we would be out of touch with God. And life without God would be meaningless and empty.
Let's think about the way that we interact and communicate with others, for when we do then not only their lives are changed but ours also.
A kind word, a smile, a look, a touch. These are all ways to reach out and touch people's lives. In our hands we have a powerful tool that can bring about change through all these ways.
© 2011 : Colin Gordon-Farleigh