Conversion and conversation

(photograph by William Eggleston)

Being a word guy, I look up etymologies. It helps me think. I was thinking the other day about conversion and conversation. They don’t have quite the same roots, but their roots are side by side. Both words mean a turning about, and a conversation is an ongoing turning back and forth. A single exchange is usually just that — “a brief exchange” — but a conversation has a development, a career to it, each party building on what the others say. Unless it’s a poor conversation, we don’t talk past each other but with each other, both sides sharing, both sides gaining.

So too, conversion. It’s not a moment but a dialogue, an ongoing process. I believe that God is a listening God. He always listens as we talk — in prayer, in the way we live, in silence. But do we listen to Him? What has God told me today? What did I say in reply? Am I the girl in red or the girl in blue?

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