I recently complimented a friend on the architectural beauty of a room in the front of his house. Despite my having been in his home a number of times, I'd never really seen this room. I'd passed through it, but never been struck by it. But this time was different.
He told me the inspiration for the ceiling pitch and woodwork was an old church in Wilmington, NC that he'd visited only once, but the beautiful space spoke to him on a deep level.
What he told me next, spoke to me on a deep level. "Winnie (his four year old granddaughter) calls it "the talking room". What a wonderful description! For her, it's not the living room. For in most houses, the living room is the deadest room in the house. But in this house, it's where people go to talk to each other, face to face. It's where televisions, and phones and computers are not. Just people- family, friends, and mere acquaintances bring this room to life. They give it a reason for being.
It takes a precocious four year old to make those of us who are dulled by the ubiquity of devices that purport to connect us, appreciate that nothing replaces talking to someone in person. This little digital native knows something that we should all remember. The very devices we believe connect us, can also make us strangers.
This year, give yourself and your friends, family and mere acquaintances the gift of real connectedness. Be alive and present in your talking room. Calm your twitching fingers and find your voice.
One bit of irony about the inspiration for the talking room. My friend's reason for being at the beautiful church was to bury the dead. From death to life.