(52) conocer {to know}

conocer – to know; to have an idea of or to understand (capture) intellectually the nature, qualities and circumstances of people or things; to understand or perceive someone/thing as distinct from others; to feel or experience…


We were playing a “game” in a marriage book by John Gottman, answering questions about each other and, as Gottman says, expanding or filling in details in our “love maps.”

I asked #49, “Name my major rival or enemy.”

He paused a moment before responding, “Your self.”

“I was going to say you don’t really have any major enemies,” he explained, “but I think the only one would be your self.”


I finally took the plunge and did something I’ve been thinking about for a long time: I signed up for an advanced Spanish class through a community continuing-education program. The first night I was terribly nervous. I guess I typically am nervous about going into a new/unknown situation. But by the end of the night, I was excited. I love this language. Beyond that, I am terribly fond of grammar and phonetics. I am deeply intrigued by mutual influence of culture on language and language on culture (is it significant that the complete sentence “I love you” or “yo te amo a ti” is terribly redundant in Spanish? or that many other Spanish sentences employ similar redundancy, probably to emphasize the subjects and objects?)


I hear in surround sound the whispered challenge to “know thyself.” From one side, a sister encourages me to hold still and say yes to Jesus. I protest that I do not know how and persist in unending busy-ness. From another, the practice of Lent swells with unending reminders of the stark juxtaposition of our sinfulness and God’s grace. I am tempted to obsess over the rules of fasting, neglecting the invitation to deeper prayer and recognition of who I really am, simultaneously True and Good and full of sinful leanings.


I have experienced how meaningful it is to be known, to have my husband pin down an aspect of my self that I hadn’t yet recognized,  to honor my own dreams. See, that wasn’t too bad, was it?

Why, then, am I so terrified to continue down the road of “know thyself”? If I have the potential to be my own greatest rival or enemy and also my own great advocate, if in knowing my self I have the opportunity to also see God’s faithfulness and grace revealed, if, if, if…

then why not?



4 thoughts on “(52) conocer {to know}

  1. Yes why not? You are ahead of me to be doing that work, and my own enemy has been myself. And in past few years I’ve encountered such freedom as I celebrate who God made me to be. May this not take you as many years as it has taken me. Love Zack’s insight. That speaks volumes. Hugs to you love dad.

    • I wonder if that is the same enemy we all face to some degree? I’m encouraged that you and Mom are still working on growing up as well. Otherwise I would feel so behind! 🙂

  2. I like “se me olvido” and “se me perdio”. “It forgot itself to me” and “it lost itself to me”. So you don’t need to take personal responsibility for it!!! I think that’s a good balance for us overly-responsible types!!

    • Yes! Those are great examples. Such a beautiful language. I think learning another language gives this incredible gift of a unique perspective on things.

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