Blog 1574 – 01.08.2020
We Are All Bi-Lingual
Yesterday, I shared with you a wonderful little children’s book called, “Marta! Big & Small.” I almost included a note to my many friends who think they are but one language speaking and who also have allowed their familiarity and preference for one language over others to cause them to mistrust their brothers and sisters who may speak a different language. I thought better than a brief note I would write an entire blog about languages.
I grew up in an area of my country where many people believed and some still do that the language of the Bible especially the KJV (King James Version) is the only language “real Americans” should speak. Though I once, too, may have bought into all or part of that narrow vision I have come to hear the music in all languages in addition to the one that I was taught from birth.
And yet as that Apostle Paul, who was fluent in several different languages (none of them English) wrote, “Though I speak with the tongues (languages) of men and of angels and have not love I am but a sounding gong or tinkling cymbal.” The language of love was meant to be our first and best language.
I met a German speaking lady on a bus to a small town near the ruined Castle Dunnatar on the northeastern coast of Scotland some years ago when I had a seven week work assignment in Aberdeen. I had taken the bus on a Saturday hoping the see the castle ruins. I heard the lady trying to ask the other passengers for directions to the castle and it appeared the language barrier was going to stymie her plans. As we exited the bus at the small town about two miles from the castle I volunteered to help the lady find her way to the castle. I was headed that way anyway and figured we could enjoy one another’s company, both being travelers on our own.
I had previous to this, my first trip to Scotland, once upon a time worked for Mercedes Benz of North America in Houston, Texas. And during my last year working for them I had the wonderful privilege of getting to fly to then West Germany for a week on the company dime. On the flight to Stuttgart, where most of the automobiles, imported to the U.S., were made, the plane made a brief stop in Zurich, Switzerland. I have a very limited German vocabulary but on our walk to the castle I learned much about my new friend Jolanda. She hailed from a small town in the Swiss Alps called Chur, loved to travel, around Europe mostly, and had found and lost to death the great love of her life, Yahn. From the moment we met we had no trouble communicating for though we knew few words or how to use them well in each other’s (I was going to say first language but those were both our second languages), we both were fluent in the language of love as are all who have loved deeply and been deeply loved. We are all that person whether we are always aware of it or not.
Jolanda and I had a wonderful walk to the castle, unescorted tour all around what was left of it, and as well walk back to town where we found a nice Indian restaurant for a tasty lunch before boarding the bus back to Aberdeen. I got her email address and we corresponded for several months before losing touch. I used a translation app to turn her German to English and my English to German. We had not needed that face to face but it was quite helpful with emailing.
My wife is I think a little suspect of all my fans and friends, especially lady friends past and present that I have met and may yet. I try not to give her cause but having failed in the passed I am determined to never fail her nor any of my “water brothers” ever again. Water brothers is a term I learned in the tremendous sci-fi novel by Robert Heinlein called Stranger In A Strange Land. A water brother is one with whom we have shared water and that ritual use of water, a scarce and precious commodity indeed on Mars, symbolizes that we have a deep and true life connection with any and all water brothers. Just like the water of life flowing in our bodies, love flowing in and from our spirits connects us. In this connection, though it may sound sexist, we are all brothers, some with bigger tits and one less appendage and in its place some rather wonderful “works in a drawer” (sorry if that does not sound pretty or poetic enough ladies, but I say Namaste, ladies and gents, for in this view we are all brothers, none the more and none the less, beneath the skin.)
We are also all bi-lingual, fluently speaking our first language-love, and ever struggling with mistaken meanings in all our other learned languages to one degree or another. I am a “word guy” or at least I work at it but the real communicating does not require words. Babies take their sweet time before even uttering that first syllable Ma or Da but soon form longer words and string them together quite intelligently for the most part. So many words and so much talk but still the three most important words are, “I love you.” Say it to a lover, say it to a friend, say it to family member, to every water brother, especially to that one in the mirror. And not just to the people in our lives but to everything for that too is love, is God, the whole enchilada, the whole Universe. Or at least that is what this water brother thinks.
Your friend and fellow traveler,