Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Tricky Little Game Called Communication

Have you ever had trouble communicating something you need someone to know, yet no matter how hard you try all you get in return are blank stares. The only communication going back and forth is the face saying, "I have no idea what you are trying to say to me right now..." (Ok, I realize that I may get these stares more than most people, but play along).

So put yourself in my shoes about three weeks ago...

I am on my way to England... We flew from Cincinnati to Boston, from Boston to Paris, and from Paris into Birmingham (England, that is).

Our flight from Boston to Paris left around 11 pm, so we were flying through the night. The primary language of the stewardesses on this flight was French.

They served a meal about an hour into the flight, then it was lights out since it was a little past midnight. I had finally fallen asleep and just started to settle into a good rest. To say that I was startled to be woken by something falling and hitting my shoulder is quite an understatement! My heart was pounding! Something had fallen and hit my shoulder after I had fallen asleep, but I didn't know what it was... I looked up and all the overhead bins were closed, so it wasn't a bag.

Then I look down and I see a person roll over on the floor in the isle-way! As if my heart wasn't racing before, now it was pounding. I scrambled to find the light, but it seemed like it took forever to do so. With all my rustling around, the girl next to me woke up and saw that I was in a little bit of a panic and flipped on her light. At this time I was able to confirm that the dark figure on the floor was a middle-aged woman dressed in dark clothes! She wasn't moving a whole lot, it appeared that she had just come to. Apparently she had passed out on the way back to her seat from the restroom... luckily my shoulder and leg was there to break her fall a little bit, or else she would have really been hurting!

A stewardess was quick on the scene and she tried to ask the lady what had happened in her broken English when the lady on the floor responded, "Please, no English..."

With a very nervous look the stewardess said, "what language?"


Not really sure what to do at this point because it was apparent that the stewardess didn't speak Arabic, I tried explaining to her my end of the story, or at least what I thought happened. I tried words, but I was getting some confused looks, so I tried again with a few more hand motions this time. The stewardess nodded as if she understood, but I'm not entirely sure that she did. We had what you could call a communication nightmare!

There is a reason that the people who were building the Tower of Babel left one another when their languages were confused. It is frustrating when you can't understand what someone is trying to say to you. If you can't understand the words being used, it doesn't matter how many times they are repeated. It doesn't matter how hard you try to understand, you simply can't. You have to find another way to communicate.

It is interesting that language is something that God changed to frustrate and confuse people, when their agenda was to be equal with God. That same God chose to redeem all of mankind and when He did He chose to use the people He created to spread His message of redemption. There was a problem though... everyone spoke different languages. That would appear to be a problem, and "with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." God gave the early church the ability to speak clearly in the languages of all people on the day of Pentecost.

Just thought this would be a fun little thing to share... Thoughts are welcome.