So its been a while. Wow. A long while I guess. (I just looked at the date of my last post) Every so often I get to the point where I know I have to get something out, but sometimes it seems to take a lot of effort to organize all the strands that go running through my brain. And sometimes I simply feel like I don’t have anything to say. Those are the worst times-the times when I feel like I’m not learning anything and life is just kind of…dry. Even though it may seem easier to NOT have to write, I hate those times.
So I am attempting to return to my little blog here. I’ve been thinking lately a lot about words and language in general. (Considering the fact that I am in Israel to study Hebrew, this is probably a good thing!) 🙂 But seriously…language is something I think we take for granted until we don’t have it. Oh, the frustration of wanting to communicate but not being able to say the things you want because of that barrier. It’s real. And it is maddening. Yes, language is infinitely important.
I struggle learning Hebrew. It’s a beautiful language, but it isn’t easy. One of the beautiful things about this language is that there is so much meaning and significance in the characters of the alphabet themselves!
But I digress…here in Jerusalem one can get along fairly well without knowing Hebrew simply because so many people speak English, and far too often the very proud part of me would much rather default to my native tongue than attempt to use my Hebrew and come off looking stupid. In addition to that, it is much easier to just remain silent in class than to try to speak and…fail miserably! The point is, relationship must be centered around the art of language in some form, and this most often transpires through words.
Words. Yes, one can have a relationship to a certain extent without them, but to truly know another individual, one must have something to represent the feelings and intentions of all the things we must communicate to know another individual. Conversation tends to scare me. I stress out about making sure I know what to say next, that there isn’t the dreaded “awkward silence”, and that I will have the ability to keep the conversation going. Language is an investment. It makes one vulnerable, and it takes effort. In general, I often find it so much easier to avoid people…pathetic, I know. I’m making a public confession. I am an expert at walking down the streets of Jerusalem and pretending not to see people I know. There. I confessed. It’s not that I don’t like these people, but if I acknowledge them I will be forced to invest part of myself…words. And they will judge me by what I say. Was it awkward? Did it come out right? Maybe I’m the only one who struggles with this? But somehow I don’t think I am…
God has been convicting me of this. My selfishness and pride when it comes to wanting to speak well. My laziness at not being willing to do the hard work of investing myself in other people’s lives through verbal communication. Or even picking and choosing with whom I speak based on my comfort level. This was not the way of Jesus. John said that the Word became flesh. Jesus literally was the Word! Really, to truly make a difference we must be willing to open our mouths and speak. How will they know if someone doesn’t TELL them. Yes, giving physical aid is good, yes, a smile can say a thousand wonderful things, yes, people can see a testimony through the way we live our lives, but in the end, how will people know the truth of the Gospel if we don’t open our mouths and speak. If God Himself was the Word, then surely He must greatly value this thing called language.
So I challenge you. What are we speaking about. What are we saying? Are we taking this gift for granted? And I ask you to pray for me…pray that God would lose my tongue and give me the gift of meaningful conversation. I can come up with a thousand excuses to remain silent, but to be silent when there is so much truth to be spoken is the easy way. Easy, but wrong. We have been given so much truth, how can we remain silent and not hang our heads in shame.