Now that I’m in France and I no longer have a weekly newspaper column, I wanted to create an avenue where I am writing on a deadline. Since my friend Jeanne has a great blog, I knew that to be part of the way-cool gang, I’d have to set up a blog.
So, now I’m way-cool and I’m not quite sure what to say. I always wanted to be part of the cool culture of high school, chatting aimlessly with cheerleaders about the latest Teen magazine buzz. Really, though, I ended up being a sort of anomaly–a smart girl with a heart to reach the unreached. And, hopefully today I am still a smart girl who longs to touch the untouched. I am cloistered here in Southern France among a crowd of folks where Jesus is not yet named. I’m on the outside all day long, longing to understand the inner workings of culture in this village.
My greatest frustration of late is grappling with words. I am a wordsmith of sorts. When I am behind my keyboard, words pour onto the page, sometimes so furiously that I can’t contain them. But here, all I can say is, “I have three children. It’s a pretty day. I am tired.” I suppose I have become a French Hemingway! Yet, to be in a place where my vocabulary mimics a two-year-old’s is disconcerting.
So, I’m learning new language–the nonverbal kind. I smile more often, even though I read in a book that French people think people who smile at strangers are either up to no good or mentally impaired. I make more eye contact. I say thank you a lot. I tell everyone I meet–the check out lady, the bank teller, the new acquaintance–have a great day. Although I use very few words, I pray I am communicating the love of Christ in compelling, yet simple, ways.
Today I wrote my own Lament Psalm. It goes something like this:
How long, O Lord, will I be silent, unable to speak to others?
How long will I stumble over words?
As a girl who crafts and hones words, I cringe at my silence
At my incapabilities to communicate.
Lord, I feel so alone here, outside the community
All because of my lack of words.
Yet even so, when I am utterly alone, I will use my words to praise You.
I will sing songs to you when no one hears.
I will sing to You in a language You love–
the language of Your kingdom.
Even if no one understands me here, Lord,
I will reach my hands to the heavens
and shout my praises to You.
If my verbal meanderings inspire you, I am thankful. If they push you closer to the throne of grace, I rejoice. If they stir up your ordered world, I am humbled. May these meanderings bring joy to the Audience of One and inspire you to do the same.