7 Sep 2018

A Meaningful Conversation in my shop

Submitted by Stephen Winters
One thing that I love about my being a self employed tradesman is that I can talk to my clients about meaningful and authentic topics. However, I do choose carefully who I will begin an authentic conversation with.
This morning a woman, who I will call Jane, called me up and said that she would like to walk over and talk to me about a project. She has an antique chair that she wants recovered. It is a family chair. So, she came over and she looked through some of the fabrics. I also took her inside and showed her the website and how to search for fabrics on the website, and the pictures, etc.
When I have a client come to my shop I like to know who these people are, besides just a potential client. I really enjoy people and love to get to know each person a little better. As I often do, I asked her an opening question, “Do you go to church?” Sometimes I may ask what a person does on Sunday morning. (I don't ask these question to try to convince them of anything, or to make them uncomfortable about religion. Rather, I have found these question, when asked appropriately, often lead to deeper and more meaningful topics. Some will tell me that he is an Atheist, or doesn't go to church, or may be very religious, only in a different context. As I ask these questions, I'm actually hoping to find people who say that the do not do anything on Sunday mornings, or who don't go to church. These are the people who I have had some of the deepest and most meaningful conversations. But, if someone answers that they do go to church, I have to be very careful about what I say then, as these people are typically very dogmatic in their thinking. However, no matter how they respond, I make no judgements about anything that they say. I only listen intently and passionately while I ask questions to draw them out. I find  people to be so interesting.)
This morning my questions led to Jane telling me about her religious background, her marriage, etc.. I gradually began asking her questions about herself, her beliefs, etc. As she told me about one thing or another I would ask her more questions about something that she had said, so that she could explain more about it. This led to her sharing her beliefs, her spiritual practices, how she had converted to be a Jew and had been married to a Jewish man for 38 years, but then her husband’s girl friend didn’t like her. That led to her divorce, and her husband kept that church and Jane had to go someplace else.
Since that time she has found a good man and has been remarried for four years now. and her move from the big city down her to this little town with her new husband, them fixing up the old house, etc. Her husband has some type of shop in the garage where he can work with wood. He wants to make all the kitchen cabinets, but Jane  is hestitant. She thinks that he has a lot of other things to do and she thinks that ought to have a professional do it. She talked willingly and opening. Said that I was a good listener. (She is a professional counselor). She told me a lot about herself. Then, when there was a pause, she said that now she would going to ask me (about myself). This led her asking a lot of questions and me telling all about my spiritual path, beliefs, counseling marriage, my past (all in abbreviated form). 
At the end of our interaction we both felt more connected to the other. This time was such a treat for me, and probably for her as well. At this point in my life, getting involved in a meaningful passionate sharing of our lives is one of my most treasured type of experience.
I have had quite a few of these types of conversations in my shop.
“You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.”
― Galileo


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