Was I Saying Something?


Sometimes my subconscious speaks to me.

Psst! Isabel!

Or maybe it’s the emergent God that Nancy Ellen Abrams posits, pulling me towards the best version of myself.

Psst! Isabel!  Look at this!

Or maybe it’s the universe.

See how these things fit together?

Whoever or whatever is talking, I listen, because I like connections.

Recently, someone reminded me of something I said to them years ago, in a conversation I’d long since forgotten. It wasn’t the first time. At worst, it’s embarrassing to hear what smart remark I made in passing; at best, it’s humbling to realize that I might have said the right thing for that person at that moment. But worst or best or somewhere between, it’s always startling to realize that my words stuck with someone. To realize that even a one-off conversation can have a life of its own, never mind those conversations that we engage in with our friends and family over a lifetime.

Bob quoted Vera Lynn: “We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when…”  His voice trailed off. I don’t know what Bob believed about life after death. But he believed that conversations did not have to end. He believed that our conversation would carry on, even without him. Bob died the next day. And Bob was right. Our conversation with him still carries on.

– Excerpted from “Conversations that don’t need to end“, Soft Edges, Jim Taylor

My conversations will also continue — the casual, the intentional; the one-off, the ongoing — for the foreseeable future and even after my death. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the content of those conversations.

“She makes people feel good about themselves.”
– Friend of Mollie Tibbetts

Now that would be a fine way to live. A helluva fine epitaph. And a fine conversation to aspire to have, and to have continue.


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2 Responses to Was I Saying Something?

  1. Tom Watson says:

    In a similar vein…well maybe…I recently had a wedding for a 35 year old man. I knew him best when he was from the age of 8 to 19. Small wedding. 14 people. After the wedding we sat around as a group chatting, and it came time to talk about how we knew each other. This young man commented that I was the minister at his church when he was younger and how he remembered my sermons.

    I have to say that I wasn’t sure, back in those days, that he was paying all that much attention. So I said, “You still remember stuff I said?” He replied, “I remember everything you said?”

    I still thought it a bit of a stretch but I didn’t challenge him further. I took it that perhaps he saw that in my advanced years I could no longer reach around far enough to pat myself on the back so he’d do it for me. And there’s nothing all that wrong about that!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – Yeah, I’d say that’s similar. Preachers and teachers have conversations they don’t even know they’re having with oodles of folks. In this case, a heartwarming interaction.

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