Communication is the key

Tales from the front pew

There’s a lot to be said for communication. I realized this a few days ago when I went to a nail salon for a manicure.

Owned and operated by Vietnamese folks, most of the people working there do very well with the English language. This never fails to impress me, because I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to live and work in a country and culture so different from my own.

There is, however, one young woman at the salon who struggles quite a bit with English. She does beautiful work, but conveying what design and color I want is often a challenge. The other day proved no exception.

Sitting down at her station, I proceeded to explain the nail design I wanted.

“I’d like a diagonal line across each nail, with white polish on one side of the line, and black polish on the other,” I told her.

Judging by her look of total confusion, my descriptive abilities were sorely lacking.

“You know, like this,” I said, crossing a finger of my left hand over a fingernail on my right hand. “See? Two sides.”

Shaking her head, she started scanning the room, no doubt looking for the owner who had a pretty good command of the English language. She caught his eye, and he came over, the two exchanging words in their native tongue.

“Hi,” I said, as he looked over at me. “What I’d like is a diagonal line across each nail with black polish on one side of the line and white polish on the other. Oh, and perhaps a thin line of gold glitter separating the two.” Since I was finally being understood I thought I could get a bit more detailed.

“Ah, yes,” he said, smiling. “You mean a ‘V’.”

“Pardon me?”

“A ‘V’ shape. Half of nail top white; other half black, and plain nail in-between.”

“No, no, not a ‘V’,” I said. “Just one line. Diagonal. Two colors only; no regular nail anywhere. Diagonal!” I suddenly realized my voice was raised, because, as everybody knows, the key to being understood in a foreign language is talking REALLY LOUD.

It took a while, but eventually all three of us were on the same page, or so I thought. Breathing a sigh of relief, I sat back in the chair and focused on “Let’s Make a Deal” playing on the TV mounted on the wall across from me.

Getting caught up in the show — I knew Raggedy Ann should have picked what was in the small box instead of going for Curtain No. 3. … What’s she going to do with 140 pounds of parakeet chow, anyway? — I hadn’t paid attention to my nails. Big mistake.

Glancing down, I saw that instead of black and white, they were sparkly blue and white. And the diagonal line was horizontal. Yikes!

Yep, being unfamiliar with a language can impede communication, but so can other things.

God communicates with His children through His Word, and our prayer life.

One thing can hinder this, though, unconfessed sin. Do you need to do business with God today?