Monday, August 19, 2013

language development

I guess you could say Brecken's language development is a bit behind. As in, he refuses to say "Mama" or "Dada" unless only one adult is present, which disqualifies the declaration of "first word spoken" because no one is there to verify. (I swear he said "Mama" and "Banjo" yesterday morning but Brad wasn't there to verify, so it doesn't count. Instead it just makes me sound like a crazy person.) He does a lot of babbling with no real words coming out, and he grunts around like a pig a lot when he's playing, but that's about it. As a point of reference, by this time in Brody's life, Bro was speaking in complex sentences and explaining how to throw a knuckleball through a series of multi-step directions. Not that we compare our kids or anything. We aren't necessarily worried about Brecken's development; he is really just 11 months old if we adjust it to his shoulda-been-birthday. I'm sure it will come. Err...

But he's not the only one who is developing language skills. I'm still working on it as well. Many of you don't know me in person, but those who do might marvel at my ability to spew out 3,000 words on a blog and my inability to speak a full sentence in person. One of our friends recently told Brad he didn't believe I really wrote this blog because he has only heard me speak about four words at a time. How could I possibly write this wordy thing?! Don't let my verbal inabilities fool you; I actually do have coherent thoughts going on in my brain. They just don't come out of my mouth properly. One time I asked one of Brad's friends when his wife was going to have her autopsy done. Uhh, I meant to say "ultrasound." Truly ridiculous. THIS is why I don't talk.

So, obviously, I prefer to write. Writing and rearranging words helps me organize my thoughts. I've been doing some reading lately, which means I now have a lot of thoughts to organize. One of the latest was Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker, a book about how God completely altered her thinking, causing her to focus less on climbing the ladder of success and, instead, to focus on descending the ladder to become a servant to the poor, the wounded, the helpless, and the godless. In short, it's about living the missional life, serving and being with those who cannot return your favors. Living in community, serving others, humility, and discourse with people who are not like you.

Most books cause me to think about the tough questions, but this book struck a cord or two with me, as I've been struggling with how to serve "the least of these" and how to talk to people who don't know the Christian lingo I've so painstakingly perfected throughout my life. (If there's any language I can speak secently well, it's Christianese.) Churches--the people in them, not necessarily the church building or even the leadership teams--spend a lot of time blessing the blessed, looking good, sounding good, decorating sanctuaries, and making appearances. And where the time is spent, the money is spent in even greater amounts.

But we don't talk much. I say hi to the greeter every Sunday. Does that mean we have community? Nope. I know people in my class, and we ask eachother how we're doing and if we had a good week. Does this create community? Nah, mostly because I answer with "good" and go on my merry way. Church people can sometimes get really good at being churchy, at saying the right things and being good, happy people, but we have trouble  being real, sharing struggles, listening and serving the hurting.

I am lucky to have a group of friends at church that is developing into true community. We share hurts and hearts (and when I say "we" I really mean "they," as I am still working on the vulnerability thing). This hasn't been something that has come naturally; it has come from a genuine desire to experience true community and from conversations about the need and desire to really know one other. I haven't answered the "how are you" question with "good" to those people in a long time, because they want the down-to-it non-churchy answer. Even if I really am good, I truly believe those people want to know why I'm good, and if I'm not "good" I am discovering words to express that, too.

So I'm developing my language skills, just as Brecken is developing his, and it is obviously a slow process. We both might be babbling a lot right now with no real substance coming out of our mouths, but soon I'd say we'll both be speaking full sentences.