Getting To Know You

Even if you take the toll highway from Monterrey to Mexico City, which is well-tended, less crowded, and a generally smoother experience, you will still have the chance to pass herds of goats wandering in the slow lane and vehicles in weirdly legal states of decomposition.  To mention this fact isn’t to suggest that Mexico is a primitive or what you’d call a “developing” country, just that the levels of permission here are on an order different than what you are used to in your home country, if your home country is the United States.  If you have need to move your flock of goats along a high-speed roadway, go to it; if you want to assemble the undercarriage and engine of your vehicle in one place and the body and interior in another hundreds of miles away, feel free to improvise a wooden driver’s seat and take off, friend.  We will just keep moving alongside.

We know that, as you get to know someone, your knowledge of them undergoes a series of transformations tuned to your own change as a person and the vistas raised by the movement of time.  What’s really interesting is when, as a starting point, your knowledge of them is additionally veiled by a language that perhaps you have not fully gained control over.  In opening your heart to this person, doubly-obscured as they are by a language strange to you, you can gain some hint of their depth, but you will miss the fuller impact of what they can mean to you.  Then, if you are changing and getting to know them better, and you are also learning the language better, the resulting view of that person will be of somewhat dramatic difference from the one you had before.  That person, also, will be experiencing the same thing about you.  The point I am making here is that this kind of knowing a person is the same everywhere, but when you add in the language barrier, there are these dramatic flourishes.  It’s like life anywhere, but accelerated and intensified somehow.  Maybe that’s the attraction for us.

For example, years ago you missed a flight on your way to Mexico City, which added a certain complexity to your hosts’ plans to receive you there.  On arrival to their home, there was a table spread for you, and their arms spread wide–and on their faces, not a trace of irritation, or hypocrisy.  All of which provoked circling thoughts like: “Who are you?  Why am I here?  Why are you so good to me?”  And in that moment you knew that those were the general questions you were asking about God, and here was a definite answer, and the thought of it was crushing in a way you couldn’t anticipate.  All of which, of course, you could not express, so you just put your head down and cried.  Years later, when you’re speaking with some limited facility at that same table, they say to you, “Remember the first time you came here you missed your flight, and you were so upset about it you cried through dinner?”

 

This contribution made by Jon Mackey, shown here in the white, who is at this moment on the field as a part of the Mexico 2012 team. 

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