Buddy Bear is so excited to talk to us. For the past month he has been a very conversational babbler. He has picked up a few hand signs, such as clapping at us during meals to indicate that he wants "more" or waving his hands together when he is "all done." He is speaking a pretty convincing "Hi!" when we wake him up from naps, he waves predictably when we say hello and good-bye to others, and he is saying "Daddaddadaa" when I ask him if he wants to go find T.
In light of Buddy Bear's recent accomplishments, I listened intently to the readings about Pentecost last Sunday. I realized what a gift it was for the Holy Spirit to enable the Apostles' linguistic facility on that amazing day. Learning or communicating in a new language is hard. I remember struggling to learn and understand Italian in college. G-Bear really enjoyed her preschool Spanish class this year, but despite her enthusiasm she always reminds me, "I have trouble remembering the words, Mom." Then there is Buddy Bear, who is trying with all his might to both understand and be understood by his own family!
Everyday, we need help as we encounter the "foreign languages" all around us. We struggle to understanding people from other countries, people with different backgrounds and viewpoints, even our friends and neighbors. In our own families, where we expect to be known and understood most clearly, miscommunication and misunderstanding can be very painful and divisive. Everyday, I need to learn more of the yet unspoken language of my son. I need to tune my ears to the language of my husband's & children's emotions and needs. These are just the varying languages within the walls of my home, to say nothing of understanding and communicating with the neighbors and strangers I meet on a daily basis.
The ability to communicate well with others is a real gift, a true blessing; it heals differences, fosters peace and paves the way for the good news of the Gospel. I need the power of the Spirit to help me accomplish it. I need the fruits of the spirit--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control--to look past differences and meet others on their terms. I need the Spirit to intercede for me when I encounter needs for myself or others but don't know how to pray. I need the Spirit's prompting to remind me to be sensitive to the needs and differences of others when their languages don't come easily to me.
So, as Buddy Bear's vocabulary blooms and we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit,
I am praying for an extra measure of grace
to embrace the foreign languages of my daily life
and blaze a path of understanding and love.