Words

I learned a new word this week. Lagomorphs are the classification for rabbits, hares and pikas. It just sounds like a great name, doesn’t it? Lagomorph. Like a Harry Potter villain with long ears and a pointy, whiskery snout. I like a good word. Borborygmus is another one of my favourites. (I’ll let you look it up on your own… increase your knowledge and everything… way to keep learning 🙂 ) Words are cool. Ha! Even as I proofread this post I am looking at the word “word”… make your lips say it…”word”, w’s are funny sounds. English sounds are odd. Words are still cool.

This cute little guy is a pika of the classification “lagomorph” Photo By: Karunakar Rayker – originally posted to Flickr as The Pika

I was musing about words this week… words, writing, books, literature. As you know, our first born is preparing to enter in to her very own space at the end of this month, and her biggest collection to move? Her books. She’s been an avid reader since day one and loves a good collection of stories. And yes, she buys the whole collection. And keeps it forever. I guess there could be worse things to collect than books. She’s among good company, though. Here are some other people who had (or have?) some large collections: Michael Jackson was apparently a big poetry fan and had a stash of over 10 000 books at the Neverland Ranch. Ernest Hemingway always had a few hundred books in his stash as he travelled, with over 9 000 in the full collection. Thomas Jefferson apparently sold a large pile to the Library of Congress, twice, to pay off some debts. (hint, hint, dear firstborn….). Oprah’s book club turned her into a top collector, as well. I hear Bill Gates reads a book a week and has someone in charge of switching up his weekly “book bag”. The largest private collection of books belongs to John Q. Benham of Avoca, Indiana, USA. Guinness world records clocks him with over 1.5 million! Wouldn’t want to move that guy.

It’s interesting to me to see who reads what. And how their vocabulary is influenced. I have a friend who is an avid reader and edits for a living. I love to hear her talk. Her words are eloquent. My Covid kids can now quote various movie reels. Books? Not so much. Perhaps we are loosing out on some of that in this “age of screen”. My own fault as parent, I guess. Noted to self. Literature is so rich, and we should be blessed and thankful we have access to it. Do you agree? What’s your favourite read? Are you a writer? I don’t think of myself as a writer, despite a weekly blog that somehow comes together from the thoughts in my head. I like words though. And good calligraphy makes words look even better… but I digress.

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

I heard an interesting discussion this week about the authors of the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each describing the life and story of Jesus according to their own idiosyncrasies and distinct personalities. Each used their own choices of words and phrases to describe a certain story or parable. Each Jesus quote may actually be different depending on the gospel you are reading. Skeptics may point to the differences in the Gospels as proof that the Bible is false…but most scholars agree to the exact opposite: the discrepancies actually give credit to the story’s truth. Too much of the “same” would indicate that the writers were trying to make up a story, as opposed to tell the true story as they remember it. Interesting to see how a doctor, like Luke, writes his account compared to John, Jesus’s bestie.

We often talk about the Bible as the God-breathed word, and it is. But it is also a very diverse piece of literature, written by human authors. An anthology if you will. (Another great vocab word!) It spans generations in time, and is targeted for different ethnic groups and diverse cultures. Not to mention poetry, prose and history lessons. Even futuristic tales, I suppose! Each time I read it, something new seems to come from it. I’m sure you have felt the same. The beauty of words, yet not just words. Words shared by people to tell a story, the same story, yet a story unique to each person on the planet. That, my friend, is the power of the Word.

Easter Lily

Happy Easter! It’s been a little different this year, hasn’t it? We were blessed enough to be able to go to church… real, in person church… but celebrations were low key due to Covid. Was it the same where you are? No Easter bonnets, no new outfits, no spring flowers, and no Easter lilies. (We did eat chocolate, so that was a thing). Usually, the church altar is decked out with a few pure white Lilium longiflorums, or Easter lilies, that usually get distributed out after the service to brighten someone’s day. They are highly poisonous to cats, so I choose to share. Besides, I am not a fan. Easter lilies stink. To me, they smell like “death”.

That sounds a little harsh, I suppose, but I don’t like the fragrance. The white, trumpet like flowers are usually ladened with pungiant yellow pollen and always remind me of funerals — or Easter — which, to be realistic, has me musing about death. Death seems to be one of those things a good Canadian doesn’t want to talk about, and I am not sure why. Especially as Jesus followers. Easter reminds us that Christ has swallowed up death, and we sing about His victory over it, etc. etc. We “believe” it — but too many times we deal with death in an unhealthy way. Too many of us fall into deep dispare and find it difficult to climb out of that pit. Now, before the hubby tells me I’m cold-hearted, of course, I mourn with others at the loss of a loved one… even a beloved pet gets me going; but the truth is, death is a very big part of life. And the death of a believer should have us rejoicing that he or she is celebrating in Heaven. Not pining for some selfish wish for the “way it was”.

So many other cultures and religions “celebrate” death. Unfortunately, it is often tied to the unknown afterlife of the individual and assuring their “profitable” passage to their eternal homes… or tied to the “spirits” left behind and assuring they are appeased by the living. You’ve probably heard of opening the windows of the home to allow spirits to have “free access” out…or perhaps Mexico’s famous “Día de Los Muertos.” This is a massive event that lasts three days, beginning on October 31. According to Mexican traditions, families have the responsibility to keep the memory of loved ones present for as long as possible. Walk through any cemetery and you’ll witness first hand how memories often keep us burdened by the thoughts of this life… what we did here and whether it will get us to the next. Sorry, no amount of flowers — or good deeds — will secure your spot.

Let’s get back to lilies, shall we? Originally native to some islands in Japan, the bulbs were brought to Oregon by WWI soldier, Louis Houghton, who shared them with his gardening friends. Apparently they are very difficult to propigate and Oregon and California are still prime producers. Farmers often work for years to produce enough flowers to properly bloom to supply us with our Easter decorations. (Perhaps I need to appreciate them more). Often referred to as “white-robed apostles of hope,” their colour symbolizes the purity of Christ, who was free from sin. The trumpet shape of the Easter lily represents a trumpet sounding the message that Jesus has risen, and the nature in which lilies grow is symbolic of the resurrection as well: from ugly bulbs that are underground for three years or longer, they become beautiful flowers. This process is reminiscent of Jesus’s brutal death and holy resurrection. Thus, lilies represent rebirth and hope, just as the resurrection does in the Christian faith. (via southern living.com)

They still stink, though. But, I suppose, before I wrinkle up my nose at them, I should be reminded that they may be a fitting symbol to decorate with at Easter. A good reminder of our life in Christ, free of worry and heartache, because He, has indeed, conqured death!