Have you noticed the arrival of sarcastic banter as the primary mode of conversation? I see it in my own words—and rooted in my attitudes—more than I would like.
Such banter can be light, even humorous.
My tolerance is waning though. Too much of it makes my stomach sour.
I worry someone’s feelings are being hurt beyond the smiling faces and quick exchanges. I fear I’ve gone the easy route: tell jokes, be silly, join the fray. The easy way avoids deeper things of heart and soul and mind. Sometimes I pursue this diversion, not because I don’t want to know about someone else, but because I don’t want to share more of myself. It’s easier to hide.
Something C. S. Lewis wrote of in The Weight of Glory connects to my longing for edifying conversations. Lewis says:
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners—no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat, the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.
People are wondrous, awesome creatures, intricate and fascinating, full of glory bestowed by the Creator. I don’t typically think like this, but maybe the Creator is whispering it to my soul during sarcastic exchanges? Maybe He’s trying to get my attention, to stop me from careless words.
Perhaps God is whispering the truth that for all its joviality, flippancy is merely a parody merriment. Sarcasm is nothing but a sham.
I don’t want to pretend to be cheerful or to put on a good face. I don’t want to accept sarcasm as a substitute for true communion and courageous dialogue with people I love.
I want to peek deep within those around me, to see how God has designed them, to see His handiwork. I want to see if Christ has His rightful place as Lord in the tender places of heart and soul.
I want to speak about Glory Himself, even when I am not specifically speaking about Him.