My husband and I were at a Bible study one time some years ago and a woman was praying fervently. Her prayer was pretty long.
At one point in the prayer she began saying, “And Lord, You are so good to us! You even tell us when we have something on our glasses!”
I thought “What on earth is the woman praying about now? She’s veered off-track a bit, but she’s prayed so long, she should soon be done.”
We got to the end of the prayers and the snacks and we did the Bible study and left. On the way home I turned to talk to my husband in the car and noticed he had something on his glasses – shaving cream, perhaps. So that’s what the prayer was about!
It reminded me a bit of the high school classmate who walked up to me and said quietly, “I hope the sun doesn’t shine too brightly today.” I couldn’t figure that one out, either, until I learned that my slip wasn’t opaque enough for her.
When it comes to speech, we often can’t get it right. There are times when saying nothing would be just fine with me. That was how I felt when my little daughter said, “You’re fat!” It’s not a statement any woman likes to hear, even from a child.
I didn’t even like to read it in a high school paper written by the exchange student who was living with us, although she softened the statement by writing that I was “a little bit fat.” Perhaps that is a compliment in her country. I don’t know.
I remember reading that a woman came up to Winston Churchill one time and said, “I have been casting about in my mind for some time for a way to convey something to you, and it is this: You have whipped cream on the end of your nose.”
“My dear,” he said. “You found the perfect way.”
My preferred method of communication is to say nothing. That’s not always good. Then there is a type of personality that gives you a running account of the workings of their mind. What they are thinking keeps coming out and coming out. They may change their minds in a few minutes, but the previous words linger on and on.
In fact, one of my husband’s relatives rmembered for years that a guest said about her chocolate cake, “This tastes sour!” It became a family joke with someone remarking each time she served cake, “I hope it doesn’t taste sour.”
Of course sometimes you can completely interpret correctly what someone is saying to you. Once I kept a dog for someone and when she returned from her trip, she picked up the dog and then returned to the car. She appeared at the door again with her hands full of trash from the car. She pushed it into my trashcan, saying, “There! I don’t want that trash in my house!” I understood perfectly. She wanted her trash to be in my house, not hers.