Wednesday, 16 January 2013

A word

Porridge. Yes, there is a (tenuous) connection with the theme of this post.
Now, I'm well aware that where pondering and deciding are concerned I'm far more of a slow-cooker than a microwave. So it's not surprising that while a number of my fellow bloggers have chosen a "word" for the new year, and did so quite early on, I've only just accepted  the realisation of what mine is.

I enjoy words (like this chap) and part of the trouble is that I was hoping it would be a spectacular word - something like catasterism or epectasis - a word that would drop into my lap in a flash of lightning or a flutter of rose-scented wings (to borrow a phrase from Sara Maitland). But the word that's been patiently hovering at the back of my mind since the turn of the year is plain-and-simple good. Such an ordinary little word - since childhood we've all know about goodies and baddies (though, really, how do we define good?  Many have tried ever since Plato's day). Etymologically it means, well, good - though with some nuances which I hope to explore. 

Another thing is that I'm one of those weird people whose senses occasionally get muddled and I can sometimes taste words. Again, I was hoping for a word that might taste of champagne, or passion fruit, or a well-Tabasco'd Bloody Mary. "Good" tastes of porridge and honey - delicious and wholesome in its own way but not really all that exciting. 

But good it is.  I remember a time when someone was telling me about some trivial but happy thing and I replied (as one does) "Good!"   And suddenly I felt one of those impossible-to-describe moments - a flurry in the space-time continuum? A chink in the gates of heaven? For a second I glimpsed the hugeness of that word and all it encompasses. Wow. Something of the sense in which Richard Rohr (I think) writes of a benevolent universe. Disappointingly, it seems the root of the word "good" is not connected with "God". But in English and its Scandinavian and Germanic cousins (to my limited knowledge) the similarity must surely shine out. We, after all, say "goodbye" when we really mean "God be with you" - whether we think we do or not.

So that's my word for 2013. I'll be sharing how it connects and resonates for me as the weeks and months unfold, no doubt...

Have you found your word yet?


  1. I love this spiritual exercise - choosing a word to savor for a year! I have done this for three years now and I am amazed at what developed as a result of the practice. My word this year is 'companion' noun and verb! God (and Good) be with you!

  2. Welcome, Barbara, thank you - and with your spirit! This is the first time I've had a "word for the year" and you've encouraged me to look forward to being amazed.

  3. Mine is still brewing - another slow cooker here! Judging by past experience I suspect it's a case not so much of me choosing a word as the word choosing me.


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