The Words I Don’t Know
The precious people of this country have faced much hardship. Each conversation that goes beyond soccer and the weather tells of pain and loss and need.
While speaking my broken, incorrectly congiated “Spanish,” I am at a loss for certain words. Of course I can remember really important ones like biblioteca, cheestoso and piscina. But the words I need here like: jail, pain, death, robbery, loss, fear, gangs, drunk and abuse are not in my reportoir. Yet, these are the words I need to know.
I need to know them when speaking to a 60-year-old woman whose eyes well-up with tears as she tells me of the sudden death of her husband who was killed in a robbery.
When listening to a 26 year old mother of two talk about how her husband went to the US to find work and was jailed for illegal immigration. She cannot afford to call him and has no idea when he will return.
When a 6-year-old boy tells me about his dad who recently died in an accident at his work.
When a 24-year-old single mother of two talks about how she works at a factory from 7pm-7am only to come home and care for her children all by herself.
When a 9-year-old girl shared with me about her fathers liver “exploding” earlier this year. (from alcoholism)
When my 24-year-old translator described living in constant fear of her drunk father.
These are the themes that are emerging.
However, with all this pain and loss so close to the surface, these people continue to smile and love and so easily invite us into their lives. When I asked one of my new friends how she has been able to get through such loss and pain. She said, “Solo con Dios.”
God is close to the broken-hearted.
I have SO very much to learn from these people.