My life has very consistently been effected by language. By the things I’ve read, by the conversations I’ve had, and by the stories that I have heard. I am deeply thankful for words. For what they have done for me and what they inspire me to do. In fact, very recently I have been encouraged in ways that I haven’t thought imaginable about the importance of telling my own story. So now, more then ever, I feel excited and motivated to be confident in my own words and in the act of sharing them with others.
Recently my friend was telling me a story about when he experienced a language barrier. He was told a story of high emotion, meaning, and power. But it was in a situation in which he could understand the language much better than he could speak it. So there he was, with all of this emotion and genuine organic reaction but was left with very little means to communicate his authentic gratitude. He literally did not have the ability or means to communicate with these people how deeply effected he was by the story he had just heard.
There is this weird in between that exists between feelings and language. Some people spend their entire lives trying to place the right words together in order to articulate themselves or to get their point across. They say things, they repeat things, and they describe things so in depth that they leave little to no room for imagination.
I have come to realize, though, that the best authors, poets, and speakers aren’t trying to find the right words. They recognize this space, this middle that exists between reactions and language. They understand that things get lost when articulated. They don’t try to provide language for the middle. They live in the middle. And they write stories and poems that make us think about the middle, and let us know that we are not alone there.
When I look back on the words that I love the most, (most recently some Pablo Neruda poems that give me goosebumps), I realize that I don’t really have the words to explain to people why I love them, or why they are so important to me. When I finished reading East of Eden, I literally could not describe to people how deeply that book had effected me. But that is because those works of art were speaking to the middle. They met me in this middle place.
There are many reasons why language often times falls short. Whether it be a literal communication barrier, or such an intense and raw human emotion that there are no human words for. So, let’s not try to make language be something that it’s not. Let’s not give it an assignment in which we know that failure in inevitable. Let’s give language weight again. Let’s use each word carefully, and let’s use it in a way that reminds those around us that they are not alone.
School is starting again. I live in a new house. I have never been more excited for a semester of classes. There are new people in my life that I know are changing it for good. And I know that God is good, and He is loving me in brand new ways that I can’t describe, and that I don’t need to describe because they are real and they are true.
Meet you in the middle.