Last year, I worked on gaining some understanding of German for a trip to that country. I moved beyond Guten Tag and Auf Wierdersehen (although I have yet to learn, “Where is the bathroom?”) and began working on the familial terms. You know, Mutter, Vater, Bruder, Schwester. And oh, don’t forget Baby. Yes, that is German for. . . baby. I liked this part. No difference from our English pronunciation. I was starting to get it! Ist gut!
One thing I noticed in the German language is that all the nouns start with a capital. You can recognize them for what they are–people, places or things. In my English speaking mind this capitalization thing now elevates everything to special status. You remember the rule from grammar school: All Important Persons, Places or Things Always Start with a Capital. With that in mind, along with the German structuring, the ordinary words of life seem to taken on a new significance. No longer just a plain, old cat but rather a Cat is found in its place. Much grander and full of importance by the little addition of the uppercase C, don’t you think?
All kidding aside, whether or not Cat seems to take on more value simply because it starts with a big C, I have found when I prepare to venture out on a mission, insignificant things seem to take on special meaning. “Chance” meetings, random bits of trivia and words of wisdom all come up as capitals. It is though God has pushed the caps lock JUST SO I WOULD KNOW THESE THINGS ARE IMPORTANT.
You may have heard it said that when you return from a mission trip you will see the world through different eyes. I would disagree. I believe the moment you turn to follow Jesus your focus begins to sharpen. You see each event as meaningful, each word important, and each moment valuable. Joy begins to seep in as you see the Lord’s hand in what seems to be minuscule scribbles of life. It is a rather wonderful place to be, alongside Jesus watching him communicate His language of LOVE to the world. Now, that’s one I want to speak fluently. I believe I will go for the total immersion method.
“Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love. . .”
Here’s is your random bit of information–
The term uppercase and lowercase actually came from the movable type printing press. You know, one like what Johannes Gutenberg perfected in Germany. At the time, the letter blocks themselves were stored in specially designed boxes called cases. By convention, the cases containing the capital letters were stored above the case containing the smaller versions of the letters, hence “uppercase” and “lowercase.”
- If you would like to learn a bit of language for yourself check out the Duolingo app for your computer, phone or tablet. They have quite a few to choose from such as French, Italian, Irish or Portuguese. It’s free and a whole lot of fun.