I think I have an inkling of why Heavenly Father chose to curse the wickedevildoers of Tower of Babel fame with a scrambling of their language. Because there is nothing worse than not being able to communicate. (This is, of course, a hyperbole. I'd rather be communicationally challenged than be a widow. Or watch my children fall into sin and squalor. Or be boiled alive. But I digress.)
I have lived in a foreign country for four years. I have cried in frustration in many a bathroom. My face has glowed a brilliant red countless times when yet another shop-keeper calls everyone he knows to come gawk at The American. I have been laughed at. Pointed at. Taken pictures of. I have had my intelligence insulted repeatedly, when I squidge up my eyebrows and apologize, "I don't understand," only to have them speak louder and s-l-o-w-e-r.
I can HEAR you, lady. I just don't UNDERSTAND you ....
Even now, when I consider myself quite fluent in Portuguese, I still struggle to express myself clearly - particularly when my heart is full.
I feel that I have a pretty good command of the English language. (I was an English major for ALMOST two years, after all ....) I can describe my sentiments fairly well, and I'm even comfortable enough to make up my own words - like squidge. When I make a grammatical error, it is almost always on purpose. (And stop looking for goofs this instant. Blogs are inherently exempt from editorial red slashes.)
In Portuguese, I can generally get my point across ... but not neccessarily well. I am especially handicapped when it comes to things of the Spirit. During testimony meeting I generally stand up at the pulpit and grin at everyone with tears streaming down my face. Sunday School is a joke. My heart is fit to bursting, I raise my hand to share my inspiration with the class ... and end up waving my hands around a lot, trying my darndest to relate my feelings. Unsuccessfully.
I just really like English.
So this weekend was general conference. My local ward receives a dubbed version from Salt Lake via satellite, but they put the 'pure' transmission through to an adjacent room just for us. Readers, the moment the first person stepped up to speak, my heart spilled out my eyes in a warm, joyful glowing. My language.
It felt like coming home.