Hoping for Straightforward

My best friend Katy is a religious educator at another UU church and like us, they’ve had a new hill to climb in the form of technology that will allow them to have live services that are simultaneously streamed for online audiences. To get good quality, it’s a lot more complicated than in the Before Times when I’d just plop my phone onto a tripod and “Facebook Live” our services. You have to work with your sound system, one or more cameras, a good internet connection and more. (And accept that online, you have no control about an audience member’s computer, internet connection, speakers, etc.)

So last week at her church, they had to call in a tech person to fix some of their soundboard stuff. Sympathizing with him over the challenge, she mentioned that recently she had been lamenting that “nothing is easy these days.”

He interjected, “Oh, in this industry we don’t use that word.”

Curious, Katy asked, “What do you use instead?”


To the congregation she serves, Katy recounted this experience and wrote, “So now I’m considering that reframe and what it means for our programs and relationships. Maybe it will work for you on those seemingly impossible days.”

I’m thinking about “straightforward” in terms of communication — how I communicate, and what others can expect of me. I find these days that the ability to guess what another person is feeling isn’t a talent I should assume I have. Heck, it’s hard enough to know what I’m feeling some days!

So I’m trying to be more straightforward. To be direct and honest, to eschew “hinting” for clear communications. To go back to the fundamentals of healthy communication: avoiding triangulation, talking to people not about people, and having uncomfortable or awkward discussions rather than just sitting with my questions.

I mean, I see the power of “straightforward” all the time. Even conversations I’ve feared would be difficult usually wind up being just fine when they actually happen — much better than the conversations I create in “skull cinema” (the made-up conversations we create in our heads).

Right now, easy might be too much to hope for, and most of us probably don’t have the bandwidth for accurately reading subtext. I’ll happily settle for “straightforward.”