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A Word for 2019

February 10, 2019

In Pratchett’s Discworld, specifically in Witches Abroad, Granny Weatherwax boasts of her ability to speak foreign, a smattering of non-English she has gathered through her travels. One illustrative bit of vocabulary is flabberghast, meaning bat. We, too, living abroad and traveling widely find ourselves speaking foreign, both the Discworld’s and our own variations.  Knowing that bat in German is Fledermaus, that bats on the Disc are often vampires, and that vampires can be ghastly, this is a brilliant portmanteau. We sorely miss you, Sir Terry.  But I digress.  Languages also have false friends, words that sound so very familiar but mean something else entirely, such as embarazada.  While the actual condition may or may not be embarrassing, telling a Spanish priest your girlfriend is pregnant because she did not realize she should cover her head in church would be.  And often there is no direct translation at all.  A single word in any language may have several distinct meanings, but be parsed out over a few different words in another language.  My Word for 2019 is such a one:

Grace

A quick perusal of several European languages has convinced me these five letters are doing heavy lifting for us.  A brief overview of what grace gives the English-speaking world would include unmerited divine assistance, favor, reprieve, a charming or attractive characteristic, ease of movement or bearing, also a short prayer for blessing or giving thanks.  In action, grace confers honor, adornment, or embellishment.

The word itself has graced my feeds repeatedly over the last several months, longer even as I found working with some documents from last spring

2018.05.09 Lush & theology

Full of Grace serum bar – 💖 Just bought a new one.  Paul advises us to “Let your conversation be always full of grace” (Colossians 4:6)     A pleasant reminder in my vanity cabinet

Grace-full, yes.  This is how I want to be in the world… at least this year.  There is a saying that grace is being given that which we do not deserve; mercy is being spared that which we do.  I gratefully accept any unmerited assistance or favor God cares to bestow.  I also resolve to do my best to move through these moments and days with ease.  And lastly, I will embellish the bare bones of living with beauty, interest, and depth wherever I may.

Grace had been settling into my mind and heart for some time while I continued to wait for an animal to represent it for me in 2019.  You may remember 2018’s Vitality and its corresponding Squirrel.  Well, last month in Florida, my day was powerfully graced by a visitation of sting rays, dozens of them, just along my beach one morning.  I was all but alone and the few other walkers were consumed with searching for shells at their feet.  I was mesmerized by this giant swooping party of cownose rays, a private invitation to observe their rites.  They were fast, powerful, and beautiful; the embodiment, individually and corporally, of grace.

 

Cownose Rays

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