This whole thankful challenge is about challenging myself to be thankful for even the small things, because I know God uses those small things to make big changes to–and for–us. Which is why today I am thankful for, what sometimes seems like, the smallest of the small: communication.
As someone with a master’s in communication, I know this is a vital component of interacting with the world. Everything we do is communication, even when we don’t think it is. An eye-roll can signify annoyance or boredom or just plain attitude. Silence can signify thinking or lack of attention. Even not communicating is communicating something. As someone who studied the subject, I know this. But as someone with anxiety, it means I look too much into every form of communication I experience (which may explain my interest in the subject).
For me, that also means I hate small talk. It’s uncomfortable. It seems meaningless. It seems fake. We often gloss over the truth in small talk. When I feel things, I feel them very strongly, so small talk for me is like asking me not to feel. But, again, as someone who studied the subject, I know that small talk can have a whole set of meanings of its own.
I remember the conversations between my husband and I before we began dating, and even when we were dating. The amount of small talk there astounds me. That’s really all our first conversations are when we begin relationships with someone. As I look back, I realize it came naturally then. It was easy, and I don’t know why. Maybe it was just him. Somewhere along the way, I lost the knack for small talk, especially with him, and trying to get it back has been tough.
So, as much as it can pain me to say this, I am thankful for that. I am thankful for small talk. For “hello”s and “just thinking of you”s. For simple “how’s your day” questions and one sentence responses. For small talk from people who know I am feeling too much to go into detail, so they give me a reprieve. For brief conversations with those I love because it means there is a connection. I am thankful for “meaningless” conversations, because even those hold meaning, and I am working on not looking into them too much. I am thankful for small talk because it leads to relationships and community.
In light of this, I want to encourage you to have small talk with someone. Maybe that’s your spouse or a colleague. Or maybe with someone you want to build a relationship with. Because small talk can lead to big things.