Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How Amazing Are Words?


Lately I am literally taken aback by language.  I am putting a combination of lines and dots on a page and you are skimming your eyes over them and comprehending a semblance of meaning out of these squiggles against a contrasting background.  Words can destroy someone or bring them back to life.  Words can be all we needed to hear and can break us down in the midst of a tragedy.  Words can articulate emotion.

I once asked a tri-lingual gentleman in my life how he thought?   Did he think in Spanish or in English or in Italian?  He said he just thought and then he spoke in the language he chose.  Fascinating! I would not know what it is like to be truly fluent in another language and have the option of how you want to express your thoughts, but it must be amazing.  He would often be in the middle of a sentence in English and then start speaking the rest of it in Italian.  It was so odd.  We would have to stop him and have him repeat in English.  In his brain it was all the same, but when he got carried away he would go back to what he spoke most often.

As I sit and think of poetry and literature and lyrics and slogans and realize that this is all words in different combinations and tones and that language is a common thread throughout the entire world, I cannot help but smile in recognition of God’s divine hand in it all.  Have you ever pictured the Tower of Babel when God mixed up everyone’s language.   It makes us laugh, but it must have been terrifying.  To not understand anyone must have been horrible and life altering. 

Gawk at your own ability to read and comprehend what I am trying to explain.  The magnitude of this ability is sheer power and incomprehensibly important.  It makes me world turn.  I can read a STOP sign.  I can understand public transportation.  I know where to go because of road signs.  I know how much things cost.  I can use the internet to its potential.  I can read contracts and deduce what is being done in order to keep my job.  I can get lost in a novel.  I can learn everything about someone’s life who died 100 years ago. 

It’s amazing what this ability does for me, and I rarely think about it.

Read.  Articulate. Speak.  Marvel at it all.

Some people can’t do these things… Celebrate the fact that you can.

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