I've been giving a lot of thought to the words I use and the conversations I have. It turns out that it is easy for me (sometimes too easy) to talk about pet peeves, politics or pop culture. Those comfortable conversations can begin to take up a lot of word-space, leaving little room for words that can make a difference. Why do some of us so quickly default to fun but fruitless conversations without an aim or effort to speak to one another about things that matter?
We do so because we seek comfort from one another’s conversation and wish to ease the mind wearied by diverse thoughts. Hence, we talk and think quite fondly of things we like very much or of things we dislike intensely. But, sad to say, we often talk vainly and to no purpose; for this external pleasure effectively bars inward and divine consolation.
Therefore we must watch and pray lest time pass idly.
When the right and opportune moment comes for speaking, say something that will edify.
Bad habits and indifference to spiritual progress do much to remove the guard from the tongue. Devout conversation on spiritual matters, on the contrary, is a great aid to spiritual progress, especially when persons of the same mind and spirit associate together in God.
- Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
I do not believe we need to jettison all worldly conversation, nor that talk about temporal things is without value. But most of us would do well to be more careful with the words we use and intentional about the conversations we have. What will I say today?