I love words! (I believe I have mentioned that here before, though.) 🙂 I am captivated by learning new words; I adore learning new languages; I fancy reading words; I adore writing words. I simply cherish what these letters on this page represent. I find dictionaries and thesauruses fascinating!
The 26 letters of our alphabet are rather akin to the black and white keys on the piano. As my baby grand (a 1937 Wurlitzer that hubby bought me for Christmas several years ago!!!) sits in my dining room, no noise or beauty emanates from it. If, however, one of us sits down and properly plays on those ivories, beautiful music proceeds forth. We can laugh, cry, sing, and be moved by the correct usage of that beautiful piece of furniture.
The same is true for the correct usage of the 26 characters of the English language and the characters of other languages as well. When put together properly, we have great power! When put together improperly or crudely, we sound like idiots. I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s quote here –
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
Go, Abe! What I REALLY wanted to share with you today, though, was someone else who truly loves words as well. Scott Harrup is the managing editor of Pentecostal Evangel, the weekly magazine for my church’s denomination. In his editorial on March 25 entitled “20,000 What?”, he wrote the following:
“My first-grade journey to literacy had barely progressed beyond the adventures of Tom, Betty, and Susan when Mom gave me my first ‘real’ book – Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. This wasn’t a ‘Golden Books’ condensation for kids, but a Classic Press Inc. English edition of the groundbreaking 19th century French science-fiction classic. I attribute much of my love for science fiction today to that fortuitous, though unlikely, choice of a gift.
Prior to Verne, my reading homework included such prose pearls as, ‘Tom said, ‘Mother! Mother! Is Susan here? Is Susan at home?’ The opening of 20,000 Leagues? ‘The year 1866 was signalised by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten.’ It required the better part of two years to complete the book, with ‘phenomenon’ and many other words expanding my vocabulary.
My original, well-thumbed volume remained in Koindu, Sierra Leone, when a family tragedy during our missionary ministry forced us to return to the States in 1975 with a few hastily filled suitcases. In 1998, my brother Blake found the same edition in a used bookstore and gave it to me for Christmas.
Mom not only prodded my personal reading, she regularly read to Blake, Obie, and me. Most significantly, she regularly read from the Bible or from various collections of Bible stories. With our family’s multigenerational loyalty to the King James Version, I was the recipient of a large KJV study Bible somewhere around the fourth grade. Its Elizabethan cadences further polished my vocabulary and elocution.
In the ensuing decades, that Book – whether KJV, GNT, NASB, NIV, The Living Bible or The Message – has done far more than nudge me onward in the joys of reading. It has shaped my soul. It has pointed me to eternal life. It has given wisdom for decisions large and small.”
Well stated, Mr. Harrup! I like one thing that Book has to say about words or books, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” (John 21:25)
Minding my morphemes,