Thursday, January 11, 2007

Non-Verbal Communication

Right now I'm having some non-verbal communication with blogger...actually it's just can't hear it. The commenting function is screwy, permalinks aren't working and I keep getting hounded to "join the new blogger" only to be told my blog doesn't "qualify" because I post too much...go figure.

Anyway, I wanted to write today about communicating in Moldova. Oftentimes, I was alone with kids and no translator, yet after a few gestures, shrugs, and the like we usually managed to convey our messages to some extent...occasionally, a kid would become frustrated and go find a translator and drag him or her back to make sure I understood what they were saying.

But I saw other communication without words too.

The most poignant came when some of the kids joined us in a service project delivering fruits and other treats to residents of a very lonely multi-story home for the elderly. Most of the kids would march into the residents rooms with bags of treats in tow and quickly hand them out, wish them a Merry Christmas, and then it was off to the next apartment.

It wasn't long before I noticed Amy lingering behind.

This was not uncommon in San Antonio, much less Moldova...Amy has a tendency to "furble," but this day was somewhat different.

Amy was going back into the rooms of the people the kids visited and stopping to talk with the residents, even though she can't speak Romanian or Russian anymore than she can do hand-springs.

But she communicated.

In one of the rooms we met a very old woman who was obviously desperate for the way, as in virtually anything I post you can click on the photos to enlarge them.

Amy has never met a stranger, and soon we were both in her room...her one room..with a bed, a radiator and a sink...and very little else...except all of her family memories neatly arranged in a gold frame on one wall.

Soon Amy was communicating up a storm, pointing to photos and confirming they were of the woman's children, or her deceased husband, or their wedding day...

It was so apparent this woman didn't need fruit or candy, as much as she needed company. By the time we left she was chattering up a storm, crying, hugging us both and thanking us for spending time with her.

Okay, she wasn't the only one crying...

I soon decided to abruptly halt my "Amy we must keep up with the others" mantra, and simply let her do her people.

I've been proud of my wife on many occasions, this day counts among the top.

We'd see grumpy-looking old men and women sitting in corners of the stark and barely sterile facility or waiting for "the elevator none of us trusted" who would eye us initially with what appeared to be distrust or disdain...

Moments later, Amy would have them smiling, or talking or laughing... Some following us outside to continue the conversation, completely unconcerned yet fully aware that we didn't barely understand a word of what they were saying.

I couldn't help but look at Amy that day and think of God.

He doesn't need to speak words to us necessarily.

He sends His love...

The rest seems to fall into place...

For Your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in Your truth... - Psalm 26:3