Note to Self: You’re Weak!

Ever had one of those days? When you’re learning a language, there are some days that you feel like you’ve just about got it. You feel competent, capable, and coherent. You feel like a few more days like this, and you’ll have it down. And then there’s days when it feels like you couldn’t talk if your life depended on it, and you want to bury your head in shame and frustration. Yesterday fell into the latter category…

A couple of guys came to deliver a bed to our house yesterday. They’ll deliver just about anything to your house and install it/ put it together, all for free. Just part of the purchase. So these guys come by. I strike up a conversation with one of them. Tell him about our purposes here, where I’m from, the usual junk. I understand him fairly well. The other half of his duo comes in, and I couldn’t understand a word out of the guy’s mouth! So his friend had to tell me what he was saying. If you think translation from a different language is frustrating, try translation into the same lanuage… really unnerving. So his friend explains to me, “He wants to know if there are people in America that do the same kind of work as he does.” Then he looked at his friend and said some equivalent of: “You speak Chinese like a hick.” Nice.

So delivery/assembler guy #1 was pretty proud that I could only understand him. Until of course he asked me a question that I didn’t understand. I asked him to repeat it. Still no understanding going on. He shook his head and said, “This is really simple language and you don’t understand!” Funny, but it hurts when you’re trying your hardest to learn their stinking language.

Later that day, I locked my wife and I out of our house. I’m a pretty clever guy – that’s the second time I’ve done that. In the States, I leave the doors unlocked, leave a key under a mat, find an open window, something to bail me out. None of those options here. We don’t even have a doorknob! Pretty secure. So I told our local security guard, who called the locksmith who came and picked the lock for 12 bucks. My streak continued and I found myself unable to understand the locksmith. My security guard gave me a scolding for leaving my key in the house. I was so ashamed. Sort of.

And the icing… there always is one! While waiting for the locksmith to arrive, some lady that lives in our neighborhood asked me about the Bible study that we have in our house on Thursday nights. Wouldn’t you know it? Couldn’t understand her, either. Really pretty amazing. Some sentences, I understand every word. And some I couldn’t even tell you what it’s about! That’s the nature of the beast, though.

God’s timing is perfect. Not usually pleasing, but perfect. He knows when we slack off, when we grow prideful, when we think we’re powerful. And He has such persuasive ways of demonstrating our weakness to us. We’re not here, nor will ever be here, because of our own strenth. We are here because He is strong, though we are weak. Thank you, Lord, for your painful reminder today!

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