It is hard to explain to someone in English how to make coffee if they only speak Portuguese. I suppose the irony of that is that the Portuguese probably know how to make their coffee blacker, bolder, and better than we ever will. But you understand the point. We, all of us, go through life trying desperately to help speakers of other languages understand what we are so certain of in our own. It is a climb that weakens even the most resolved.
I speak in the language of touch and I hear best when words, any words, are accompanied by a hand on my shoulder, arm against arm, or heads close together. I do not know why this is the language I speak best and I understand less why this is the language I receive best. It is not the language of the suburbs and I feel that acutely here. I take my hugs whenever I can. I give them, hard and long, because I want you to know that I love you, but I also want to feel that you could love me too.
Cards, gifts, time spent talking or a surprise task finished, these bless me, but I quickly forget. Like all the times I've tried to learn Spanish. Whole semesters of conjugations and tutors and rote memorization and my grasp is still medial, at best. It is not my language and it does not come naturally to me. It does not even come unnaturally to me. It dances circles around me, taunting me with the secrecy of its word-speak.
A hand on the top of my head, a thumb rubbed into my weary shoulders, feet touching beneath the table, and my ache for love subsides. This may seem hyperbolic to you, and perhaps it is, but we are speaking different languages, that's all.
I want to love well. I do. But I also want to be loved well.
There is a part of me that would like to believe that the creator of the universe, the one who designed love and is love, that he would be beyond the need for our earth-encrusted affection and dirt-laden offerings, but it was he who pled before his father "take this cup from me" and then found his brothers asleep on their watch. "Could you not wait with me? Keep with me?"
I wonder if that perfect Christ, the sinless man, the creator in flesh, if he felt in that moment of abandonment, his utter humanness.
I wonder if it is in our need for love that we are most human. Here, with our knotted muscles, tired from the work of life, we know our need.