Sunday, October 21, 2012
Speaking Different Languages
For the first 45 minutes, nothing was said ... at least nothing important. In fact, she communicated mainly by tapping or pointing. Her name was Linda, and I only knew that because the receptionist had told me. As with her coworkers "Sam" and "Aaron," I feel sure it was her Americanized name -- one that she had chosen to make her life here in the States easier.
I had not had a pedicure since before school let out, and with flip flop season about over, my poor feet were far overdue. And now I sat in the chair with the roll bar massaging my back and Linda massaging my legs while my weary feet found rest in scented scrub and hot towels. Ahh.... Actually, I think this was the first pedicure I'd ever gotten without a friend in the next chair, so it really was an experiment in relaxation and "stillness." One that I cherished and counted as "gift."
But I couldn't help but notice the chain around Linda's neck and the gold Buddha hanging thereon; and keenly aware that the person in whom she puts her trust is dead. And so I prayed.
How does one minister to someone in a situation like this? I knew I couldn't just open the conversation with, "Do you know Jesus?" Or at least I found it difficult to do so. At least with no relationship. And so I thought to myself, "Well, I can begin by building a relationship." By now my toes were painted a dazzling Wocka Wock and I was sitting with my hands before her for an even more overdue manicure ... no color. And so I asked, "Where are you from?" She looked at me quizzically, thus I rephrased my question thinking it probably did sound a little southern for her Asian descent: "Where did you grow up?" Same response. Very slowly now enunciating every word: "Where ... were ... you ... born?" Thank goodness I had sense enough not to say it loudly like she was deaf. Again, just a stare. So I tried once more. "You. Baby?" Finally, a huge grin came on her face and she said, "Tutrigian." Now it was MY turn to look confused. I repeated it back and she reiterated. I said it again: "Tutrigian," trying to make sense of it. For the life of me, I had never heard of the place. She must have seen my baffled look, because she then said in an accent I could understand, "One boy, 27; one girl, 19." It was all I could do not to bust out laughing! And so I just held up three fingers and said, "I have 3; 2 boys, one girl." And I left it at that.
Lord, have mercy, how does one minister when she can't even communicate with the recipient??? And then I remembered the seed principle. Like begets like. If I will just plant a seed of love, or a seed of joy, or a seed of kindness or gentleness or peace -- all seeds of the Holy Spirit, then I can trust Him to multiply His seed in her and bring forth fruit in due time.
For now, I will just pray that another comes along and waters those seeds, and that in due time, she gives herself over to Truth. Yes, I will ask for Linda again until, hopefully one day, we speak the same language.
Just an ordinary moment...