“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” ~ Mark Twain
When I was in high school, I learned French. I used French occasionally in college and graduate school, researching some of my theological topics. I tested out of it for my Bachelor’s in Sacred Theology by speaking with some French Nuns from Canada. My speech was not that good, but I was able to communicate. I told them, in French, that I read the language better than I spoke it. That was enough to get a pass.
Spanish? Well, that is another matter entirely. The only Spanish that I really learned was while I was a laborer at Inland Steel. I cannot use those words in church! I can understand some Spanish, but cannot really speak or read it. That being the case, I was invited, several years ago, to con-celebrate a wedding in Costa Rica. I wrote my homily and asked one of my friends to translate it into Spanish. I then asked him to read it and record it so that I could practice it.
On the day of the wedding, I read the homily a paragraph at a time. I would do the first paragraph in English and then in Spanish and then move to the next paragraph and so forth. I knew that I was doing a terrible job but wanted to make the attempt for the family. At the reception that night, I sat with the bride’s family. They began the meal by telling me that my Spanish was horrible. They were barely able to make out what I was saying. And then the mother of the bride said, “But you smiled so beautifully in Spanish.”
We might not be able to understand each other all the time. We might meet up with different languages, different cultures, or different customs. We might stumble and bumble our way through them. However, people see our attempt and they also see what we allow them to see shining through the attempt. If we are kind, charitable, and loving individuals, they will know that even if they cannot understand us.
Let people know that you are a believer today, even if they have a hard time understanding you.
FAITH ACTION: In all that you say and do today, and with all the people you encounter, be kind.