Meditation written and read by Cathy Tamsberg.
One of my favorite stories from the Cross of Nails Gathering in Coventry last September was told by Emma Griffiths, the CCN staff member whose task is to support the schools that are partnered with CCN. As gregarious a person as you’ll ever meet, Emma led one of our biblical studies on peace. She began by emphasizing the importance of communication. Even in our high tech world, there are major failures to communicate that jeopardize our relationships with others and threaten peace itself.
She then told us about a Chinese entrepreneur who wanted to attract American tourists to his new shop. So he decided to display the English translation of the name of his store so Americans with cash would clearly know what he was selling. A resourceful, tech-savvy young man, the shop owner went to his computer and used Google Translate to get the English translation. Then he ordered his sign in both Chinese and English. We all roared with laughter when she showed us a picture of the man’s shop with its English name in large, bold letters: “Translate Server Error.”
How often do we fail to communicate even with people who speak our own language? We speak too soon, or not soon enough. We project feelings and beliefs onto others without listening to what they are really saying. We fear trusting others, sometimes for good reason and sometimes not, and choose not to reveal what is truly on our hearts. Or we refuse to listen at all.
This Lenten journey is a time for self-examination. It’s a time for looking deep into our hearts at who we are and what our souls need to thrive. In one of your periods of spiritual reflection, consider your communication patterns, with whom you can talk openly, and where you struggle. What makes some conversations effective and others not? Then open yourself to learning whatever this reflection may teach you.
This meditation is from “Lent: Sowing Season, Holy Time,” a collection of daily readings by Associate Pastor Cathy Tamsberg. Each day during Lent, from Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2013, to Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, a new excerpt read by a member of the Pullen congregation will be made available. To hear each day’s reading as it is published, subscribe to Pullen’s RSS feed, or listen to the podcast in iTunes.