I have a strong American accent. There are many reasons for the reality, all good ones that I can think of. To the casual observer, the observation ends there and a conclusion of where I fit in their culture box follows. There are exceptions to the casual observer. An example emerged in a chitchat conversation with a young Singaporean as we watch Singapore F1 qualification session.
“Your accent is not always the same. It seems to have the South in it.”
She did not know why, but she knew the story was not the complete story. The night before, in a similar conversation, I had been assigned to the box. The trouble came on multiple fronts. I like F1; evidently Americans do not (according to the conversation). I like a wide range of music; evidently Americans only like rock and roll or traditional country. I was interested in other cultures – their views, experiences, and ways of living. Evidently, Americans did not care about anyone or anything but themselves. The creeping awareness of the conversation was that I did not fit in the assigned box of mythology.
The two conversations reminded me that my language and actions tell the story of who and what I am. Even as others put me into a box, there are broader clues that can be observed. My actions reveal the truth of my conversation with life and the community I find myself in. Together, they tell of my heart and soul.
It is easy to think that our rhetoric is what other see and hear. In contrast, as two young Singaporean echoed back her/his observations, I found myself looking in the mirror. They saw beyond my orchestration. They hear more than the prepared script.
A wisdom father reminded me of a truth; “Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God.” (1 John 4.15) It is my intent to do that. The feedback loop is my language, in all its forms. Today is an opportunity to connect the intent of my heart with living.