[NOTE: This is a guest post by Landon Saunders.]
One of my favorite poems by Stephen Crane is about a man who had a wooden tongue. It goes like this:
There was a man with tongue of wood
Who essayed to sing,
And in truth it was lamentable.
But there was one who heard
The clip-clapper of this tongue of wood
And knew what the man
Wished to sing,
And with that the singer was content.
Being understood. Just to know that someone “knew what the man/Wished to sing.” What a transforming moment that can be. If only someone would listen, could hear us, could get beyond the inflection of our voice and the choice of our words…and understand!
Communicating can be hard work. Especially when it seems that every topic is a possible powder keg. Having a conversation can feel like we are navigating a minefield where one misstep—a misplaced word or a misunderstood phrase—and relationships are wounded, perhaps beyond repair.
But don’t give up! Keep trying to communicate with patience, compassion, and hope. There will be times that it will feel like no one understands what you’re trying to say. But, when that time comes, remember the vivid picture of the man with the wooden tongue, the one who understood him, and the peace that understanding brought. That peace is worth the work it takes to find it.