Sticks and Stones

“Sticks and Stones May Break my Bones,
but Words Forever Change Me" 

What happened to the popular trend of learning new words? I remember about 10 years ago when many people around me were learning new words daily or weekly. It was fun to know who was trying to learn new words. I would spend time with them in conversation on the day I knew they would get a new word. I wouldn’t ask them what the day’s word was. I would just sit back and listen for the new word to come tumbling awkwardly out of their mouth – because they we’re taking it for a test run, and the first time they used it was always entertaining.

For most people, and with most words, this was just a simple exercise of the brain or a fun challenge. But every now and then a word would come up that would solidify itself into their vocabulary. For me one of those words was longanimity. (Try saying that three times fast!) Longanimity is having the ability to see through the hard times and envision what the light at the end of the tunnel will hold. I used it in conversation a few times and each time I had to explain that I wasn’t referring to the sea creature where clown fish live. I would spend a week or so trying to use this word and explain it to people because I thought it was interesting. I never thought much of it then, but looking back I noticed something… 

Since I learned that word, and since I spent time engaging it in the world I have noticed my view of the future change. Where before I would more often get stuck in the present circumstances; where before I could likely sulk for a while before moving on; where during COVID years I might have easily stayed in fear and isolation, now I am a little more quick to see ahead at the potential for good to come. Today I am more ready to look past the hard times and envision what the light at the end of the tunnel will hold.

If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like to try and see the world through a different lens, and especially if you never figured out how, I have a recommendation for you. Rather than put on fake glasses to see differently, why not try something tangible. Try using a new word, but not just any word. Try using a word you want to enfold into your vocabulary and eventually change who you are for the better. There’s lots of great ones. Here are some of my favorite: grace, mercy, honest, courage, and wise.

Pastor Stephan


Last Published: August 4, 2022 11:34 AM
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