Filled with the Holy Spirit
            they began to speak in other languages,
            as the Spirit gave them ability.

                      —Acts 2.4

So much of our words are foreign even to us.
“How are you?” “OMG.” “See ya later.”
We don’t even know what we mean.
What would it be like to have words
for the depths of the dark river flowing in us,
or even the light playing on the curls of its surface?
What would it be like to give voice
to the chorus humming their symphony in us,
the knot of old women singing their ancient wordless song,
what would it sound like to speak our love into the air
or into another’s heart?
What ancient tongue could pass on,
like putting a coin in someone’s hand,
what astonishing wonders we’ve seen,
what love we’ve known?
How might we speak to give voice to the silenced?
What language would convey it
when we listen to a foreigner not knowing their words
but knowing their sorrow, their joy?
What silent form of speech would translate
one turning their heart inside out for us
and us listening, hearing,
the electricity of that connection?
How might we learn to hear
in a tongue we didn’t grow up with
a story as real as ours?
For this mystery we pray,
to lose the words and receive the gift of tongues
for listening,
tongues like hands that reach across
to hands reaching out to us,
fluent in the silence of the soul’s native tongue.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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