How One Can Impact Others With Words?
The Shoulders Upon Which We Stand – Part 9
Her gift isn’t just to help people, but to bring groups together. I’m a talker by nature, but when you add her in the mix, even what she has to say transcends it’s originally intended audience. If you ask her, she will say she’s gifted to partnering with the vision God’s given us. This is oh so true. She is fully vested and engaged in that no doubt. This gift wasn’t one that was hiding in plain site, but to those familiar it often goes unseen. Pamela, my wife, is great at so many things that I could name a number of items, but I wanted to identify that God-given gift, talent, skill that’s within. Again the closer you are to someone the more you don’t isolate a person’s gift, but attribute it to who they are. That’s just so and so; it’s what you just come to expect. It’s just the way that they are.
The Power of Another’s Tongue
My wife has a power to speak in another’s language. She doesn’t find it difficult to communicate with others. However, her gift has a unique attribute. She’s an ethnic group whisper. She can speak another’s language. If you ever saw the movie, Green Book, you’ll recognize this most powerful quote from “Doc” Don Shirley.
“So if I’m not black enough and if I’m not white enough, then tell me, Tony, what am I!?” – Don Shirley, Green Book
Her life long friends tell this story. When they were in high school, they were involved in sports events and one night after practice or a game, they found themselves in the gym. Back in the days of pay-phones and wall-mounted phones for people to make calls. Pamela ended up answering the phone after it rang and the person on the other end said can I speak to someone “black.” Her response was “I am black.” What was it about this call? What did the caller hear? What was it that came from her lips that was unexpected?
The person calling recognized and for me exposed her super-power. She had no idea and somewhat a little surprised and maybe even insulted; but the truth is who we are, what we are, what we have, are all produced by and/or for our gift, our super-power. It’s that thing that makes us “holy”, unlike anyone else. The caller identified that Pamela’s gift of communication was different. It was unexpected.
Any of her friends could have answered and the caller would have immediately known they were speaking with the intended group. So why was her experience different? She’s unique and gifted in communication. This gift almost escaped me until I heard her dad share a story about how she’d make the best grades in every subject except conduct. She’d get into trouble for talking too much. Her gift to speak got her into trouble.
I would imagine (I really don’t have to imagine, I know) that this gift has made her stand-out all her life. She stood out in elementary, she stood out in high-school, and she stands out the same way today. To hear her on a call, you’d be confused when meeting her in person. That’s a gift, an uncommon trait, a unique characteristic. Not everyone can do this. I can’t and don’t know anyone else who can.
Impacting Others with An Unexpected Way of Communicating
So let’s give her a name, we’ll call her “The Tongue Talker.” In our faith, their are people who have gifts to preach, prophesy, and even speak in other tongues. Go figure. Pamela has the gift to speak in another’s tongue, not her native, natural, expected tongue. She has an uncommon speech. In fact, she and I, early in our relationship, would have conversations about “speaking in tongues.” It was a gift described in the Bible that she didn’t fully understand. I, until now, couldn’t figure out the challenge or concern she had over that subject. Today I’ve figured it out; it’s simple because language and talking is in her DNA. She’s a tongue talker. She speaks in another’s language, she speaks in another tongue.
Pamela’s impact on our daughter’s friends has opened the door to opportunities only few can dream of. It’s this gift that allows us to witness what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. could only dream of. There have been little white girls to have their first sleepover experiences with our daughter Tamia, a little brown girl because of “The Tongue Talker.” She makes others feel comfortable with a race of people whose stereotypical behavior would normally get in the way. She makes being an African-American acceptable to other groups and even envied. What a gift?
Because of “The Tongue Talker” our closest friends aren’t just African-American, but diversified. Pamela is really unable to see sides and it’s eye-opening. She has the gift that speak another’s language making a mark on white people that makes them wish they could be a black person, if only for one day. Unheard of.
What I want you to take-away from this final installment of me highlighting an eXtra-person is that your gift has a purpose. It’s not by accident that you’re equipped the way that you, but there is a reason and it’s for that reason, you must use the gift.
Anytime you bring two groups of people together, there must be a representation from the group that can speak the language of the other group. It takes someone who can bridge the language barriers. It takes someone who can understand from the other’s point of view and Pamela can.
As a family, we often pick at Pamela for her gift when we’re alone, but we use this gift to our advantage when we’re among other ethnic groups. I remember early in our relationship I’d call her up just to hear her talk. Tamia makes fun of her today when she places orders at the drive-thru. While what’s normal to us to enjoy, it’s a special gift to all those she encounters. She makes bridging a necessary and much needed gap between black people and white people possible in a world full of hostility. She’s the very thing our world needs most today. She’s what I need to be a balanced author, writer, communicator, leader and person. She has the ability to speak another’s language, to bridge the communication gap. I believe she’s making a huge difference to create a world that’s free of prejudices. X-man? No. eXtra-Woman. Extra-ordinary woman. The Tongue Talker.