What He Meant When He Said “Hookah”


I was sitting in my office yesterday listening to a client have a conversation with Avery my boss. He was an old friend of Avery’s who came in to talk about refinancing his home. The two sat, coffee in hand, catching up before business talk rolled around and I was half listening, half working on the file in front of me.

“Christmas was great this year though.” The guy said, his ruddy face blushing. I tuned in to listen, since his Christmas was likely more interesting than the bank statements I was holding. “I have a new girlfriend since we talked last,” He said,  “And she tricked me into picking out my own present.”

“What did she get you?’ Avery asked.

“Well we’re both into smoking hookah.” He said with a grin, “And she and I had gone into this fancy hookah store by the outlets, just browsing. She went back after we had left and bought me the one that I had reacted the best to.”

And the man’s smile was so genuine that I felt like his girlfriend deserved a high five for her efforts.

It was one of those conversations where he was talking about his new hookah but it wasn’t actually about the hookah at all. He was actually telling Avery and I: “I have this girlfriend and you see how clever she is? And she makes me feel loved.”

And it occurred to me that perhaps my language needs to be this way more often. How often do I brag on the people that I love and the God who put them in my path?

When I talk about the new exciting things in my life, face all beaming and blushing, who am I really talking about? Who’s getting the credit?

In her book “Bird by Bird,” Anne Lamott talks about how each of us humans are given an “emotional acre” to tend that is wholly my own. And I get to decide who’s allowed in and what gets planted or built on my acre. And if things start dying on my acre, have I been tending to it well? Have I plucked up the weeds and watered the plants?

In 2015 I want to purpose to cultivate more gratitude, more stories about my loved ones and about my God. See how great they are? See how loved we are?


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