-Uma das coisas que Eu mas gosto nesta vida, E ser capaz de falar em outra lingua.
-emeber-ray en-way ee-way ould-way alk-tay in-ay ig-pay atin-lay?
I remember the day when I first wanted to try and learn a new language. I was super gung ho and knew that I would probably and most likely be the fastest human in the history of humans to learn Spanish in about an hour or two. I knew that I would be the 14 year old Spanish prodigy that humanity would look back at and revere as the gold standard in language learning. I was going to turn heads with my perfectly perfect accent, which I would develop in 10 or 15 minutes (after all I watched speedy Gonzales all the time on Saturday morning and had it almost perfect already) and that I would be able to walk the streets of many foreign countries and be perfectly aware of what was going on. I was in 8th grade at the time. Reality was slightly different.
I was pretty much limited to colors and food items in Spanish, only accented by the random cuss words that our Mexican friends were so willing to share. Upon my call to Brazil, my dedication was again stoked, and I spent 2 months in the hotbed of cultural and language instruction that is Provo, Utah. After those 8 weeks, I just knew that I was practically three quarter Brazilian at that point and was already feeling like my skin turning a bit darker, I had random thoughts about playing soccer in the street barefoot etc. I knew I was the best the MTC had ever seen. I arrived in Brazil and soon realized I could understand maybe 5% of every conversation. And that isn’t saying much as my name consisted of about 5% of every conversation. My experience with learning language was just as it should have been. Slowly but surely.
Language is something that is learned over time, little by little, piece by piece, word by word, phrase by phrase in baby steps. Its something that is different for everybody. Some people have a knack for it, others don’t. What I found most important in the learning of some Spanish, and later Portuguese, was that in order to really get it, and get to where you can actually communicate, you had to really WANT to, not like the “Yeah, it would be really cool to totally talk behind someone’s back about them in the hallway at school in another language, and then no one would know what we were saying” type of want. But the desire to be able to fully communicate and sound as if you were born there type of want. It requires that type of commitment because it is a long, slow, tedious process, in which the wishy washy’s are weeded out. Along with that, the only way to really get to be to the level 17 awesome “Fluent” status is to completely immerse yourself in the language, day and night, dreams included, all day no exceptions. To get to legendary level 87 awesome “no accent” status? That requires you to get into a car accident, slip into a coma, forget everything, and start all over in the land who’s language you wish to master. Not really worth it if you ask me.
So, do I sound like a native Mexican, or Brazilian? Not exactly. But back in the day when I was doing it all day everyday, I could pass as a German guy speaking Portuguese. Not bad.
So, to get to the point. Lately the new language I want to learn is the language that the spirit uses. This language is a bit more difficult to master. Why? because there isn’t a google translate app you can use to cheat. Its an individualized customized language. The spirit communicates with us all in different ways. There are generalities and similarities that are consistent throughout His language, a lot like the common letters that form words in almost all languages, but the specific stuff, the really good part, where its an actual conversation? That is the grand prize. That is the level 984 Uber awesome fluent status that is so elusive to all of us.
So, whats my advise to myself? How to I get to that point? It has to be just like any other language, it starts with that desire to be able to communicate, to be as fluent as you can. It takes time, effort, effort, practice, effort and immersion. Immersion is the perfect word, because it describes perfectly how it needs to be. Immersion is a complete “All In”. No pinky toes out of the water, no sprinkles on the head, no Nacho Libre face dunk. After all, don’t we all get the “gift” after we are “immersed”? Am I there? maybe level 2. Am I closer than yesterday? yes. I know that it all comes down to Desire, Effort, Time, and Practice.
The Lord wants nothing more than to be able to freely communicate to us what we need to hear, when we need to hear it. The problem is us. We are the ones that need to learn specifically how He communicates with us. We need to be listening. We need to eliminate the noise in our life. we need to tune to the right station. We need to ask for help. And it only works if we as individuals learn for ourselves what this beautiful language sounds like to our hearts ears.