Friday, June 19, 2009

A Chance To Die

Amy tackled the study of the language at once. It was a great gulf fixed between her and the people with "dark eyes, dark windows of darker souls," and she felt the helplessness of the alien. She was surprised and delighted to find that it was possible to start giving out the Gospel by means of an interpreter. A Christian Japanese girl, Misaki San, became her "mouth," her travel companion, her teacher.

"The honorifics are peculiar," Amy wrote. "for our 'go slowly' they have quite a touching appeal, 'augustly leisurely going, deign to be;' if you are hungry, you explain with polite frankness that your 'honorable inside is empty,' and if you want to say somebody has died, you say he has 'honorably deigned to cease to become.' "

Upon arrival at one of the small country hotels she was greeted with the announcement that a chicken had "deigned to cease to become," and that a bath was "on the boil."

When she had been in Japan for one month she felt it was high time she took a missionary journey. She wrote long , long letters at every stage, filling twenty or more of the thinnest pages imaginable with her round, clear handwriting and delicate drawings (storks, centipedes, people, fish, swordplay, incense burners, pagodas). There was an audience, of course. People hung over her shoulder, studying the writing. "Oh!" said an old lady when Amy explained that she was describing to her family the silkworm business in that village, "Our honorable worms and we ourselves are going to England in a letter!"

-A Chance To Die, The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael

If you have not read this book yet, you really need to!! It's FABULOUS!


Melanie said...

The section you posted made me want to read it again!! That is such a good book!

Rosebud said...

Melanie has that book, but I haven't read it. What a unique style the Japanese language has...