Flo was the pastor's wife at one of our old churches. She was kind, witty, caring, gracious, humble,
hard-working, and inquisitive. Inquisitive with a capital I.
If you've ever been in the company of someone who really wants to know you, to hear your thoughts, your dreams, your ideas, your jokes, your tears, your concerns, and even what you had for breakfast because she really cares about the details in your life, then you probably felt honored and perhaps even loved. Most people fill a conversation either talking small talk or about themselves (often one and the same). I am guilty of that, but it's usually when I'm graced by an inquisitive person like Flo.
A typical "flow" to Flo's dialogue might go like so (say that three times fast!).
(on the church grounds or in her yard next door to the church...)
"Zoanna, it's so good to see you. What brings you my way today?"
"Oh, I had to pick up a crock pot I accidentally left at the church."
"Was that the beef burgundy everyone was raving about?"
"Well, I made it, but I'm not sure about the raving part."
"Could I get the recipe?
"Sure. It's really pretty simple."
"I'll bet you are just one of those people who thinks all cooking is simple, aren't you?"
"Me? If it's not simple, I don't cook it."
"Your children probably look forward to mealtime, don't they? Are they good eaters?"
"They are good eaters, yes. We make them try three bites of everything once, and they can't say they don't like it until they've tried it."
"That's good. Was your mom a good cook?"
Do you see how her questions were focused on me instead of on herself? Can you count how many questions she asked? Did you get the sense that her side of the conversation was rapid-fire questioning, or that she really wanted to know the answers? Are you like me in loving this kind of person who seems to have the knack for interviewing people? Do the people Flo talks to realize they are doing most of the talking on the spot, or does that thought not occur to them until they walk away? Do people like me wish they'd have asked more questions of her? What observations have you made about her questions? How about this paragraph? Is it getting on your nerves yet? Or are you are nodding along saying, "I know someone like Flo!" or "I am a Flo!"?
Inquiring minds want to know: Are you more of a Zo than a Flo?
Flo left a legacy of inquisitiveness in me. Her questions made me the object of her care for the many years I was privileged to be in the same church. She was more interested in asking what I thought or felt than in telling me what she thought and felt. I really try to emulate her in that way, but often fail. Ya know?