Often, while speaking of God, I will talk in one direction, stop, turn, and stop again, only to find that I’ve run out of words without completing my thought.
At the beginning, the issue seems clear enough. I’m moving along under a full head of steam, when I suddenly spot a break in the track up ahead. I jump to another line, engine shuddering, as I try to maintain speed. But just around the corner, there’s that same break. Except for now, it’s a chasm. So I stop, try another metaphor, pull out a different analogy, hoping that this time I’ll jump the divide. But there it is again, looming ever larger.
And I wonder at this gift of words that is also a curse. After all, language gives us freedom to relate, to connect and create. What is the Church? It’s just a word. But the collection of our shared understandings, of our hopes, of our fears, of our deepest needs has made this word into a physical place of refuge for some, a family for others.
This same language, however, also confines. We are imprisoned in a society held up by words that are not our own, and we are isolated from those we love by a failure to communicate what we really mean, what we truly need.
What then can I do when my experience of God — of the very source of love, truth and life — transcends language? What dare I try when words fail me?
What dare I try when words fail me?