I am being forced to learn a new language. In spite of the fact that I was born here, in spite of the fact that I have lived here all my life, I can no longer get by using my native tongue. My world has been invaded, and the invaders have changed the language. And I’m having a really hard time of it.
For example, when I was in school, cell was a term I learned in biology class. Today, that term has nothing to do with mitosis or DNA. Everywhere I go, I’m being asked to answer my cell, check my cell, turn off my cell. In the old days, a cell number only applied to those who were incarcerated. Now, everyone I know has one.
When I was growing up, I went with my brother to pick blackberries. When the berries were ripe, we had to wear long pants and long sleeves so we wouldn’t get scratched to bits, and our hands were purple by the time our buckets were filled. We’d sample the berries, to see if they were sweet or sour. Then, we took them home and Mom baked them into a delicious cobbler, and the whole kitchen smelled heavenly.
Now, the only reason a Blackberry might turn your fingers purple is from bruising, due to overuse. A ripe Blackberry is one that is fully charged, and if it has a weak battery, it is called sour.
I used to look forward to the cold weather, so I could kindle a fire in the fireplace. Now, for the low, low price of a few hundred bucks, I can Kindle any time I want. No matter how hot or cold it is.
And what is the deal with the letter E? It has become the most important letter in the alphabet. It’s become its own prefix, for goodness sake! All you have to do is add an e- to the beginning of a word and it changes that word’s whole meaning.
We used to check our mail in the mailbox and wave to the mailman. Now we have e-mail. Which we read on our cells and our Blackberries. We used to go to the library to check out books. Now we read e-books. On our Kindles.
I’m still waiting for an e-cobbler. Something tells me it would be calorie-free. But first, someone’s going to have to invent e-taste-buds and e-scents.
And, my word, why doesn’t someone create an e-gym with e-exercise equipment, so that I can do an e-workout and lose that ten pounds I’ve been trying to shed?
The letter I is almost as bad. In my native tongue, a pod was something which contained several peas. But an i-pod has nothing to do with fresh produce. And when my children started asking for an eye-dog for Christmas, I worried that I needed to take them to the optometrist. Then I learned that no, they didn’t want an eye-dog. They wanted an i-dog.
In the good ol’ days, I looked forward to chatting with my girlfriends over a nice cup of tea. Then I’d tell all my other friends what a nice chat I ‘d had, and invite them to come along next time. Now, I could chat with anyone in the world, any time, night or day, in a chat room. But then I’d have to deny I chatted, because no one ever admits to going in those rooms.
So, as I struggle with this new language, I take comfort in knowing that there is one language that will never be altered. God’s Word speaks love, mercy, and compassion to all. His Word means the same, no matter the dialect, no matter the tongue. God’s e-love is just as powerful as His love, His i-mercy is every bit as overwhelming as His mercy. No translation needed.
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever,” Isaiah 40:8.