We were traveling up the Atlantic coast, hitting all the major cities, a once in a lifetime trip for us. We had left “the South” when we left Virginia Beach.
We came to a Walmart in Baltimore right on the Chesapeake Bay. I thought it was weird that there were ducks in the parking lot. When we checked out, I said something to the checker. She looked at me, “WHERE are you FROM?”
“Rahht heah,” I said, smiling. “I mean, Texas. Why do you ask?”
Later, in the trip, we stopped at a Starbucks on the Freedom Trail in Boston.
I ordered my Pikes Place, Grande, no milk, and got the same question from the young man behind the counter.
In the elevator at the hotel in Boston, I was exercising my Texas Friendly, chatting with the strangers in the moving box with us…they turned away. They turned away. Who does that? I was ready to go home.
This divide that God implemented when mankind, sharing the same language, decided to rise up against God and throw off the “shackles” He had placed on them, and go their own way, has gone beyond just the different languages. There is a divide between dialects.
Today, I made my normal breakfast stop at McDonald’s, this time in Mineola.
Breakfast here is usually fast, and easy to hold while I drive to my first job.
I was behind three guys having trouble navigating the English menu board.
The young lady at the register was very fluent in their language, and spent considerable time translating the menu, and taking their orders, patiently pointing, and translating, keying the register, then going back to the menu board, back to the register.
She showed kindness to the three as she quietly cared for their needs.
When it was my turn, she looked at me and said, “And what may I get for you?” She was also fluent in my language.
“You speak both languages very well,” I told her.
When my order was ready, she handed it to me, big smile with it.
I thought, here she is, maybe 17 or 18 years old, fluent in two languages, speaking each one in the accent required.
I had tried, in the past, to learn German, French, and Spanish.
I think, when you speak another language, you are opening yourself up to a whole other world of experience.
We are all born into one language group. Learning that one is easy, because that is all you hear. You begin to think in the language as you learn it.
They say, if you immerse yourself in the language and the culture, you really learn it.
They also say (“they ” are so smart), that when you finally begin to think in the new language, you find it easier and easier to move in it as you use it in conversation.
Kind of like, being born again?
In 1978, I began to hear a voice that was different from the voices of the culture around me.
The culture said, “Take it while you can, do your own thing, if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with, freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose, turn on, tune in, we don’t need no piece of paper from the city hall keeping us tied and true….”
The voices were loud.
But, this new voice was quiet, soft. You had to listen for it .
“I will show you a more excellent way. Come to me.”
This new voice spoke a new language, one of putting others above yourself, loving God above all else, obeying His voice, living for Him…because of His great, great love for me.
As I immersed myself into this new language, a whole other culture began to open up to me.
Until, one day, I began to think in this language.