I've never heard my grandmother's voice. Grandma Rosie, my dad's mother, had a stroke when I was little which left her unable to speak. She lived down the street from us which allowed me to visit her often. It was then, at a young age, that I learned that love does not require words.
I always felt closest to my Grandma Rosie than anyone else in my family. It seemed to be an unspoken pact between us that both of us as the black sheep of the family should stick together. Words were never necessary for us to understand the other. Our hearts were linked to intuitively know what the other needed.
When I was in elementary school she had another stoke and was moved to a convalescent center to help care for her. We visited her on Sunday's after church and it was always me she reached out to for a hug and a kiss on the cheek. It was towards the end of my time in elementary school, perhaps 5th of 6th grade, when she walked towards that bright light of heaven. My heart broke and I felt so lost without my rock. But I knew deep down that her voice had returned and she was speaking sweetly with our Heavenly Father.
I was reminded of this lesson again as an adult during my visit to India. I sponsor a lovely girl in Rishikesh so that she may have the same opportunities as the boys with her education. I was able to meet and visit with her at her school and was given permission for us to attend aarti together one night. Our English levels were not at the same level so we could speak in broken English but not carry on a long conversation.
This night was my first ever attendance of aarti and it was the most beautiful ceremony I've ever attended. Manju, my sponsored friend, would show me what to do as offerings and candles were passed around. The singing and chanting were stunning although I didn't know the words. I didn't need to know them because I could feel them. My heart was bursting at the seams with all the love and fellowship between all these strangers who accepted me right into their devotion.
Words were not necessary that night at aarti because I could feel the love, as with my grandmother. Language could have been a barrier but instead love built a bridge.