Sometimes you don’t need to share the same language to connect with others, especially children. You can still experience a heartfelt connection, joy, and laughter. I have found soccer to be one way to relate to children in many places in the world. When I worked in a refugee camp on the Thailand/Myanmar border, living and working conditions were challenging; there were many who had suffered great loss, and many children spoke little or no English.
Yet it was in this remote camp in the mountainous jungle where I saw the power of love break through barriers – in this particular instance, through soccer, which the boys would often play after school. At first they were not quite sure about me, but after a few brave ones passed the ball my way and I scored a goal, I was invited to play often.
I was thinking about this recently when I heard about children separated from their parents on the southern border of the United States. One account mentioned that many of the volunteers working to help the children don’t speak their language.
While I don’t know that a giant game of soccer could help in this situation, I do know that a willingness to listen and speak from our heart with love can cut through barriers. As Mary Baker Eddy, founder of this newspaper, states in “Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” “When the heart speaks, however simple the words, its language is always acceptable to those who have hearts” (p. 262).
What’s the basis for this? Love. Christian Science explains that God is ever-present Love itself, which knows no boundaries or barriers and is always with us. No matter where we are, we can find refuge in Love’s ever-present embrace. When I am feeling afraid and alone, I often turn to the psalms in the Bible for messages of comfort and reminders of God’s love and protection. Psalms 46 assures us, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (verse 1).
Just as a father or mother would comfort a child in times of trouble, we can trust that God is here, tenderly speaking to us in just the way we need to feel His love. Christ Jesus’ famous prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, begins, “Our Father which art in heaven” (Luke 11:2). This shows that God is the divine Father of all of us. “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, gives a spiritual interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer and puts that line this way: “Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious” (p. 16).
If we all have the same divine Parent, we are all brothers and sisters. There is no one left out. There is no one that is unworthy of God’s tender Mother-love or Fatherly protection and guidance. I have found that when we view our fellow men, women, and children through that spiritual lens, we experience more of God’s “all-harmonious” nature. What wouldn’t we do for our sister, brother, mother, father, or child? Think about it. Many would go to the ends of the earth to support their family in times of need. What if we extended our view of humanity to include all in that sense of family, not even as distant cousins, but as spiritual brothers and sisters? When this spirit of love is present, that’s the heart speaking.
Most of us may not be able to support, in person, those children in need at the US border (or elsewhere). But we can help! We can pray to know that we all – including children, parents, volunteers, and government workers – have the ability to open our hearts and feel God, Love, communicating to us and through us. God enables each of us to hear just what is needed to bring connection – heart to heart.