My Aunt Fannie once told me that the argument that led to her divorce from her first husband started about a glass of water Thinking about this, recently, I found myself wondering if they realized when they started talking that day that they were having an “extinction level conversation” (ELC).
I had an ELC, which led me to quit a job. I don’t think the Executive Director of the place I worked (who was my supervisor on the Org Chart although she never actively supervised me), knew she was having an ELC with me. I don’t even know if she remembers what she said, although I do. As much as I forget some things, certain conversations and specific phrases within those conversations are cemented in my memory.
She said, “The things you’ve done, don’t really matter” …pause… to me.” Her words flew into (and blew) my mind and spirit and I knew then, that I would leave even though it took me nearly six months to give my notice and another two months to leave.
One of the reasons I avoid talking when I’m really angry is that I don’t want to say words that I can’t take back and that may end something that shouldn’t end. I don’t want to extinguish hope or possibilities. I don’t want to litter important relationships with poisonous words. I don’t want to add the fuel that can burn out of control and destroy what I have.
I tend toward silence until I know what I want to say, have chosen the best way to say it, and have selected the appropriate time to speak (for me and for the other person).
I have ended relationships – don’t get me wrong – but not in the heat of anger or disappointment. I have ended things when it was clear to me that the end had come and that I could no longer be who I was in the relationship…when it was clear that I was unloved, disrespected, or unsupported.
Looking at the negative world news of skirmishes and war on so many fronts, I pray that President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Barack Obama of the United States of America (as well as other presidents of too many countries in the world to name) aren’t on the threshold of having ELC. Unlike ending a marriage or leaving a job, their ELCs could end this world I/we so love.
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