I try to expose myself to the kind of culture shock that occurs when you talk to people who speak a different language. Pierre Omidyar
Meditation: Sitting at the table with a majority people who look different and who speak a different language than oneself is a strange experience. Suddenly what seemed “normal” is no longer “the norm”. From one moment to the next one becomes the minority and easily feels inadequate, unable to understand or communicate in the same language as the majority speaks. The ears that are usually our guides, suddenly seem irrelevant. Eyes and intuition become new guides, unfamiliar as they might feel. My children who numerous times sat around the table with their white German family members had this experience for the past days. Now teenagers, they experienced this language and culture shock more consciously than before and in new ways. I noticed that after an initial shock and frustration, a deeper motivation became birthed inside of them, namely the desire of wanting to learn the German language. They want to know the meaning behind the others’ laughter. They feel a deeper desire of wanting to learn the language, the culture and therefore belong. Culture shock can wake us up in a good way!
Prayer: God of many languages, thank You for the richness of cultures and the meanings hidden in them. Thank You for culture shock that wakes us up and opens our horizons. Help us to tolerate the initial discomfort that happens when we feel “shocked” and out of place. Strengthen our curiosity and intuition when we experience ourselves as the minority or as helpless as our ears won’t be able to help us anymore with meaning making. Broaden our horizon and our knowledge of cultures and languages. Amen
Undoubtedly there are many languages in the world, and none of them is without meaning. 1. Corinthians 14:10