In his book, Be!, James Dillet Freeman wrote, “Feeling is the unforgotten language of the heart; you could speak it before you learned words, the language of the mind.”
What are you feeling now? Feelings were there in your heart before your mind conjured the words to describe them. Sometimes feelings are never put into words. They just lie there in the heart – unforgotten.
Often the work of psychiatrists is to draw out those unforgettable feelings and help them take word form. Is it necessary? Is it helpful? Must we define all our feelings? What happens to the wordless ones? Do they impact us?
As a small child, I grew up in an Ozzie & Harriet family. My dad went off to work. My mom stayed home and nurtured my sister and me. Then, during World War II, my mom went to work at a bomb plant. My sister went to kindergarten, and I went to stay with my mom’s friend in town. Dad got a military deferment because of his family obligations. He entered into a business venture with his brother-in-law and spent long hours away from home. How did I feel about all that change? I don’t know. I never verbalized those feelings. Do they need words to be real?
It’s reassuring to realize that God hears the language of the heart. Before we learn to speak, He hears us. He understands our needs even better than a nurturing, attentive mother comprehends her infant’s cries. Before we know how to say what we’re feeling, God knows. In the depths of our souls, unspoken feelings are stored. Yes, they impact us. They are unforgotten by God as well. Knowing He helps our circumstances “work together for good, for those who believe in Him” gives me great comfort.
Remembering now those early days of change, I can see how Mom’s friend (I called her Aunt Artie) impacted my life for good. She took me regularly to the library. She encouraged my ability to read. Hers was a happy, safe haven. The unforgotten language of my heart feels her support and acceptance.
What unforgotten language lingers in your heart? My prayer is that you, too, have the reassurance of God’s understanding. May you feel comfort in the dormancy of wordless memories. Let the feeling lie in your heart – unforgotten – but working for good. Believe!