Friday, November 07, 2008

The Word

"IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."

I can't say anything more profound than this, but I want to talk about my love for words and where I think it comes from.

(boring post alert...please feel free to completely ignore the following introspective blather)

I really love words. I love to hear them, see them, read them, write them, say them, touch them (raised letters embossed on things). I've always loved them. I've been told that I always spoke very clearly (the neighbor girls made fun of my super-pronunciation) Before I went to kindergarten, my mom taught me to read and I still remember the first book I read all by myself and understood. It was "The Secret Three" about a club of boys by a lighthouse. I remember the day I actually grasped that the words formed an idea, and that idea made sense, and was a good story! I read it over and over again (even though we had lots of books in the house) because I had such joy in that discovery. I probably ran through the house reading to anyone who would listen. Maybe I even read and re-read it to my baby sister, Katrina? I just was so excited to be a part of the bigger story of man. It was as if I had joined a club that I could never be kicked out of. No matter what happened socially, I was a part of some bigger world that would grow exponentially now that I had the key to decoding mankind and all of its mysteries.

Okeydokey, that's getting a little deep. I was just a four year old and learned how to read a little book. But it was SAWEEEEET!

Fast forward to my school years. I know I've written about this before but it comes back to haunt me that I really don't remember much about grade school. I do remember the smell. I am shocked that the smell of the school hasn't changed (when I go back there for book sales and things). I do remember my teachers and funny things that happened in between classes but I sure don't remember any lessons or anything they taught me. I also remember almost all the words to every song we were ever taught.

White coral bells
Upon a slender stalk;
Lilies of the Valley deck my garden walk.

Oh, how I wish
That I could hear them ring.
That can only happen when the fairies sing!

I had my head buried in a book during every class. If it was impossible to read (teacher sees me!) I would be dreaming about what was coming up next in the current book I was reading or looking out the window, making up some fantastical story about "what would happen if..." and imagining some crazy scenario where one of the students would do something totally out of character and how the teacher would react. Basically, I had plays running in my head all through the lesson. I would do my homework very quickly and roughly so I could get back to my passion, reading (okay, I also watched a fair amount of cartoons when I didn't have a book to read). I would have read all of the teacher's books by the middle of the school year and I had already read everything interesting in the library so I was often bored by winter time.

Looking back, I guess I could have poured some of that energy into actual studying of my subjects. I did love English and reading class, of course. I could have probably found geography, history, science, social studies a little more interesting if there had been stories that illustrated some of those concepts. I just had trouble processing anything on a chart or on the chalkboard...anything NOT in book form! Math just sucked always. There are no good books about math, lets face it.

Now, because I have so little time to read books (although I've been hitting them hard lately and have some good reviews coming up), my word fix is online or the captions on the TV, or listening to talk radio. I can't totally express how much joy it gives me to turn on the radio in the morning. I love the words, the laughs, the funny parody songs. LOVE IT. It's not an addiction, it's a gift. It's a necessity for life for us to have these words and these sources of light in a dark world. I'm probably dramatizing things a little but when I'm at my lowest, a kind word or just the company of words can lift me up again. Total darkness isn't absence of light, it's absence of communication!

Think about it: true hell would be not evil demons torturing you mercilessly and endlessly, THAT would be kind of funny after a while. True hell would be not knowing anything about where you were, where anyone else was, why you were there or why no one would visit you. True hell would be no communication between you and your loved ones or any other person. If we had total ignorance of any word, we would be in a living hell. One saving grace I have in a world of darkness is that voice inside me that can create imagination and stories, songs and praises. I could be locked in an endless cave with total darkness and no stimulation around me but, because of my past with words and how to use them, I have a treasury of beauty inside me that could sustain me indefinitely!

I've been thinking a lot lately about how words have affected my life. I get into trouble a lot for the words I choose to use. I always try to pray before I speak but I'm imperfect and don't always say the right or the most succinct thing. I find it hard to write properly without injecting my voice or way of speaking (onomatopoeia much?). I don't write in the best way or use my writing to further God's glory always. I will always try, but I often fail. I often think, "If you can't say sompthin' nice, don't say nothin' at all!" but then my mouth opens and the words spill out. I wonder sometimes if God has something to do with that? I wonder if he hotwires my brain to circumvent that little, nagging voice that tells me, "HEEEEEYYYY, don't you DARE say THAT! It's gonna make you enemies and cause you all kinds of problems, lady!" just so I can learn my lesson and maybe do a better job of listening the next time? I wonder if He makes me learn from my mistakes so that I have greater patience with people who are a little farther back on the path than I am in any area in life? It's a lot to think about.

I'm obsessed with other languages and accents. I love how all of our words are connected by a very few degrees of separation. I wish I had more time to study all of that (maybe when the kids are grown?)!

Okay, so some questions you can answer (you don't have to answer them, just think about it):

What are some of your favorite words?

Which words make you happy just when you hear them?

What are some made up words that you have in your family?

What is an "old word" that you wish would come back in style?

Do you use "proper words" when you speak in certain situations but not with your friends or family? (for instance, when I'm in public and I bump into/almost bump into people, I say, "pardon me" but not around my family...I usually just say, "get outta the way!" hahaha, just kidding)