CONFESSION: I’m a sucker for those candy hearts with cute little phrases printed on them that come around every February. They’re called Sweethearts. I must have at least one box during Cupid’s reign or my year is not complete. If I don’t have a corn syrup bellyache and a Red Dye #40 headache, I just feel all empty inside.
Each heart must be read, analyzed and given the proper salute before hitting my tongue. Sometimes, I even organize them in chalky formation as if they were my own little love army. After topping off the box, crashing from my sugar high and rambling incoherently about being single, I swear off those candies forever.
I do this every year.
To me, eating conversation hearts is like making small talk. It’s good every once in awhile, fun to munch on and to share tidbits of insight like “I Luv U”, “Hot Stuff” or directives like “E-Mail Me” or “Chill Out,” but too much of it really adds no real nutritional value to my day.
Personally, I’m not very good at small talk. I’m not someone who can come up with interesting questions or bits of trivia to keep a conversation afloat with someone I don’t know very well. I get awkward and squirmy and usually make jokes that I find hilarious but no one else does. Which usually makes me laugh more and my pits sweat.
True story of me attempting small talk with a visitor at my church:
Me: “Hi. How are you?”
New Guy: “Hi. Um…good.”
Me: “Is this your first time here at Crosstowne?”
NG: “Yeah. I’m new to the area and am looking for a church.”
[NOTE: I was going to ask this youngster if he was in college to invite him to our College and Career Small Group. But what came out was…]
Me: “Are you single?”
NG: (blink, blink, blink)
Me: (nervous laughter) “I’m NOT hitting on you….I’m old enough to be your…I was just…”
NG: (looking over my shoulder for help or the nearest exit)
Me: “Nice meeting you.”
Needless to say, New Guy never returned.
Small talk gives me hives.
There are people that are really good at it. They dole out small talk like it’s February and I’m the one with the sweet tooth. And in and of itself, it’s not a bad thing. It’s necessary to get to know people, share common interests…I get that. But, when the talk starts getting smaller and the questions are just filler, that’s when I start to get sugar stomach.
When someone does a Sweethearts Drive-By and verbally throws a “How R U” heart my way and I know they aren’t asking the actual question, but only acknowledging my existence, I usually throw a candied “Good. U?” back to them despite how I really am. Although, I’m always tempted to ninja block the fast pitch and tell them, in detail, how I’m really doing, my innermost thoughts and divulge everything that I’ve eaten that day in alphabetical order. That’ll show ‘em.
However, when I think about it, sometimes I do that to God too. Not all the time. But, there are days that I catch myself tossing candy hearts to God. Little tidbits of truths broken down so much that they hold little or no resemblance to an actual conversation. It’s quicker than soul searching and more convenient than listening. Divine sugary shout outs, if you will.
I could blame it on the sugar, but the palpitation in my chest is my restless heart needing more than audible high fructose corn syrup. If I’m just chucking tidbits of prefabricated verbiage at people and my God and only catching the same, I’m sure to be a lonely, relational diabetic.
A person can’t live on bread (or Sweethearts) alone and neither can our relationships, whether with God or another person. Try to cultivate more than your sugar high the next time you talk to another person. Look them in the eyes, ask them how they are in a way that they know you actually care. When you pray, really talk to God like you are in a relationship with Him and stop to hear what He has to say.
That kind of depth can’t be inked on a chalky bit of hardened sugar and it’s sure to satisfy more than just your sweet tooth.
For more information on Restless Heart Syndrome (RHS), see my post called “Help, I have RHS!”