Over the past couple months, Peter’s verbal language skills have been exploding.
For a while, he seemed content to do most of his communicating through a library of (creatively used) grunts and sound effects—but now, almost out of nowhere, he’s stringing together nouns and adjectives and verbs to communicate some pretty complex thoughts.
It’s unlocked a new world for him, and you can tell he’s proud of his progress. If there’s something he wants to say—a thought he wants to communicate, a question he wants the answer to—he can say the words and be understood.
…Well, most of the time.
There are still a few hiccups. Enunciation is still a work in progress. When he tries out a new word for the first time, it’s not always obvious what he’s going for. Some of his words sound the same. (“Waffles” and “rawr shoes,” his phrase for his dinosaur-themed sandals, both come out “wawsoos.”)
What happens is that, sometimes—less and less frequently, to his credit—Mary, Prim and I will be huddled around him, trying to ferret out the meaning behind his words.
It’s a frustrating experience for him. If we can’t figure it out in a few tries, the poor little guy tends to collapse on the ground and start crying.
At first I thought it was a little dramatic—but then I started thinking, “What if it was me?”
What if I was trying to communicate something important to someone else, and no matter how many times I repeated myself, they couldn’t make sense of it?
I’d probably want to cry, too.
And the fact is, that kind of thing does happen to us—and it is frustrating. When’s the last time you were in a conversation where no matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t seem to make the other person understand the thought you were trying to communicate?
It’s maddening. Not because someone disagrees with us, but because we can’t get them to even understand the thought we’re trying to express, and every attempt confirms that they just aren’t getting it.
It doesn’t matter whose fault it is—that kind of miscommunication is exhausting.
It makes me glad that God is the God “who know[s] the hearts of all” (Acts 1:24). It makes me glad that “there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether” (Psalm 139:4). It makes me glad that when I pray, the Spirit “makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).
When I come to God with my questions and concerns, I don’t ever have to worry that He’s going to look at me the way I sometimes look at Peter and tell me, “I’m sorry buddy, but I don’t know what you’re trying to say.”
No matter how badly I botch the words, no matter how poorly I communicate it—He knows my heart, He knows the thoughts I’m trying to express—He hears and understands me, even when my words would sound like nonsense to others.
What a comfort that is. Even though He might not always answer my prayers in the way or in the timeframe I’d prefer, I never have to worry that He doesn’t understand what I’m asking. I never have to worry that something important was lost in translation and just hope for the best.
I never want to take that for granted.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go check on my son. He’s either wanting his dinosaur sandals, or he’s looking to strap a pair of waffles to his feet.
Until next time,