Tag Archives: friends

Question therapy

question mark
Image via Wikipedia

How many questions do you ask in the course of day?  Not internally, but out loud.

If I really allow myself to think it through, many parts of my day include questions.  What’s the best time of day to buy gas?  When will the sun go down? How much is that? Why are my children screaming in the other room?

But how often do we genuinely ask what’s on our mind?

I sat down one day with a lovely lady who wanted to get to know me better.  I also wanted to know her.  She began by expressing interest in what I’ve done in the past.  I found myself sharing.  As I shared, her intrigue grew, she asked another question.  Not prodding or in any way annoying, she genuinely wanted to know more about me.

When our time together had finished, she had learned much about me and I felt great, but I knew so little about her.  I didn’t ask the proper questions.  I didn’t ask much at all.  It made me wonder how she felt when we finished talking.

Now I sit in my home, near the most precious people in the world to me.  Have I asked them good questions today?  There’s an art to good questions.  They flow from our experiences without being predetermined.  One question ignites the next because of our genuine care and concern for others.

If my girls and my husband are to know how much I value them, I must ask questions.  The more I inquire, the better I’ll become at the art of question asking.  I’ve seen this within my home already.

This might make you think you’ll never get to share your stuff.  Maybe.  But so far, I’ve seen quite the opposite.  The better and more caring my questions become, the more they inspire questions from my children, just like my friend inspired me.

Let’s imagine this experience as life continues.  The more questions I ask, the better I get at asking questions.  The more my family shares, the better we know each other.  We become closer.  We understand each other more.  We converse on multiple topics without fear throughout our lives.

Now that’s how a family should work, don’t you think?

If this is something you struggle with, take the challenge with me today.  Make a plan to ask more questions than you answer.  At first it might be difficult, because you haven’t had much practice.  But in the same way we learn to walk and spit our watermelon seeds, we can do this.

My choice today:

Ask more questions than I answer. 

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The danger and beauty of thistle people

Milk thistle flowerhead
Image via Wikipedia

Have you seen a thistle up close?  They are nasty looking.  This green spined weed visually displays its ability to defend itself from one and all.  With a tiny wisp of purple rising above the flowered spines, one can image inner beauty but why investigate more? When other flowers hold outer beauty and wonderful smells, it would seem silly to waste time on a thistle.  But maybe not.

Thistle people

Sound like anyone you know?  Thistle people throw barbs at others effectively creating a distant relationship.  You know the type, any time you get too close, it’s as if a spear pierces your heart and you back up, relationally speaking.

Sometimes their rough exterior holds people back.  They don’t dress a certain way or talk appropriately.

One great image of a thistle person came in Murphy Brown.  Do you know or remember the show, circa 1980 something?  If not, allow me to inform you.

Murphy Brown worked as an investigative reporter.  She rose to the top of her profession.  No question too tough for her to ask, no topic to difficult to cover.  Her work environment contained a variety of personalities.  Ultimately these people served as her only real friends and yet they described her this way, “The first time I met Murphy, I thought she was beautiful.  Then, she opened her mouth.”

Another thistle person shows up in George Lopez, savez que, you know what I mean?  A thistle person could be someone like Lady Gaga.  Her outward appearance can be off-putting to some people.

Do you know a thistle? 

Maybe you know a thistle person or you are a thistle person.  Your very demeanor screams, “Don’t come any closer!”

Why would anyone want to do that? Why hold out barriers to friendship?

What is it protecting?

I wondered about that uninviting weed.  After research, I discovered what it was protecting. Milk thistle helps people with multiple ailments.  For years, it’s been used by various practitioners to help treat liver malfunction, hepatitis C, gallstones, high cholesterol and cancer.

I’m not advocating a medicine, but examining a plant.  With so much potential contained within its highly protected body, maybe the thistle knows what it’s guarding.  Ignoring any hippie dippie thoughts, something of value is worth protecting.

Steps to know a thistle person

Thistle people guard their true self carefully and cautiously.  They know the value they hold, on some level, they know.  Perhaps they’ve been damaged previously, but the inner beauty remains.

What can we do?  Exercise caution.  Spines hurt, no matter what beauty lies within.  As a snake handler knows the pain of the bite, so those of us who want to see the inner beauty of a thistle need to use caution and respect.

Seek the beauty and let them know you see it.  Maybe, with each kind word, with each positive action, the spines can shrivel and show the true beauty within.

For those patient enough to appreciate a thistle, the reward is great.

The great weed lover 

Jesus did that for us.  He sought us out and didn’t let our spines push Him away.  He took everything we could dish out at him because He knows and sees our beauty.  He took a beating because He saw our beauty and wanted to give us friendship.  He died at the hand of people like ourselves.  Yet, He knew we were worth the trouble.  So are all the other thistle people. 

He told us how to react and treat the thistles in our lives:

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19


If you have a story of a thistle person you love, please share it here.  Don’t forget to anonymously rate this article (thumbs up or down).