Communicating Without Words

Months ago as I was venturing into the MTO building downtown to get a business license for one of my many failed business ventures I stumbled onto an adventure of the spiritual kind. As I wandered over to the computers I noticed an elderly Spanish woman sitting on her walker. She was absolutley adorable with a pink dress on, short grey hair and a weathered face that showed years of hardship and pain. She was also in my way to sit on the computer. “Excuse me, I have to use this computer” I politely said to her. Not being one to possess any patience I simply grabbed her walker and moved her out of the way. I had a business license to purchase after all. She looked up at me and began speaking to me in rapid fire…Spanish. After a five day adventure in Mexico in 2011 I had learned how to say hello, thank you and where is the bathroom quite fluently. Aside from that my Spanish was lacking. Being intrigued by this cute elderly woman I asked the young boy with her what she was saying. He was about 16 and very overweight with long hair covering most of his eyes. He appeared very insecure when talking to me and did not want to take his eyes from his phone for a second to answer me. Luckily another guy appeared a few seconds later who appeared more than willing to answer my questions. Of course my tight top that day helped. They were both her grandsons and she was telling me that she had raised them from the time they were little boys. I asked her what country she was from with her older grandson interrpreting for me. “El Salvador” Oh El Salvador I knew a little about that place! I once read a book about a massacre at El Mozote.. I was an expert on the subject! We began conversing back and forth like two best friends who had not seen each other in years. She was getting very animated speaking with me and began drawing the sign of the cross in the air. OH.. so she wanted to have a spiritual discussion with me.. this was a language I knew well.

So began a conversation without words. We communicated without any interpreting from her grandsons and she even sang for me a holy song. She wanted me to come to church with her and sing with her on stage. Me…have an audience? Sign me up! I was making a prayer motion with my hands to indicate I was a believer to her. The many people in line watching us must have thought we were half cracked or just on crack! After our animated discussion she spoke in her rapid fire Spanish to her chubby insecure grandson.

“She says that God always puts good people in her path like you.” Now wasn’t that nice of him to look up from his Blackberry for more than a second. I told him I wanted to take her to church and I gave him my phone number knowing full well he would never attempt to reach me as his grandmother wasn’t that much of a priority to him. She began rubbing her belly and indicated to me she was hungry. Her chubby grandson looked up from his Blackberry quite paranoid. “We feed her!” he shouted almost as if reading my mind. “We have just been here for awhile and it is past her lunch time” his eyes begin darting back and forth as if he is looking for a quick exit. The poor kid thinks I am going to call the cops on him or something. A sick part of me is enjoying watching him squirm. I turn back to his grandmother and she grabs my hand and clasps it to her heart speaking her rapid-fire Spanish again. I feel she is giving me a Holy Blessing. I like Holy Blessings!

We have spent about twenty minutes together speaking two different languages yet true communication and understanding happens on a  heart and soul level.  I never saw her again, I don’t even recall her name but I feel she was put in my path that day to give me a simple but profound message: I am a good person.

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