Last night, I went to dinner for Mia’s 6th birthday with my ex-husband, his parents and his girlfriend. Were it not for the kids there, it would have been one giant awkward turtle. You know those, where the conversation flounders like a turtle on its back?
I don’t have any animosity and I’m learning to let go of any lingering hurt I have over the marriage, but this was still a big step for me, meeting the girlfriend. The restaurant was packed and we hadn’t called ahead – add 1 hour wait. The restaurant was busy and there were several large parties – add 30 minutes to get our order taken/delivered. No matter how you slice it, how well you get along, how committed everyone is to making it work, it’s going to be awkward turtle.
There were lulls in the conversation. There were looks I couldn’t quite decipher. The kids didn’t notice, or at least, they acted like everything was great. Mia was still sweet and enjoying her birthday and excited everyone was together. Wendy was still goofy and eating off everyone else’s plate and having to have a time out in the bathroom.
Still, at times, the conversation spun on its shell, even though, overall, it was okay. I’m guessing we’ve probably all encountered awkward conversation situations. Maybe that awkward turtle happened in your prayer life. You’re committed to spending quiet time in prayer with God. You’ve decided to talk with God about what’s on your heart, but you don’t know where to go after that. Do you start asking for things, a la Santa Claus? Do you tell him how much you like sunsets, so, thanks for that? Maybe you should start by introducing yourself, after all, it’s been awhile?
Or, maybe there’s an awkward prayer turtle after you’ve laid it all out and asked God for something, but you don’t hear the answer, or, it doesn’t come right away. Awk-ward. I know I’ve prayed about something big and thought God might be ignoring me, because there was no answer — I waited, and the longer I waited, the more uncomfortable I felt. The more uncomfortable I felt, the less likely I felt like I wanted to talk… it was an endless cycle of bumbling weirdness on my part.
Is there anything to be done when an awkward turtle makes its entrace, skidding across the table? As Nike says, Just Do It. Moving past maladroit conversation requires us to put our words forward, acknowledging the gawky dialogue and showing your commitment to reduce uncertainty and keep things moving, in relating to God or to one another.
*Interesting tidbit, a synonym for “awkward” is “green.” 😉