My struggle with words

Being tongue tied – not something I struggle with often. I generally am able to find something to say – even if it’s wrong. (Which is likely more often than I care to admit)

However, in the past few years or so, I have found that I struggle with finding words that properly describe something that is especially, truly and magnificently wonderful.

This started when I was in a setting, not too long after my Mom had died, when someone referred to something as being “heavenly.” While I know my mother had a fondness for the chocolate the woman was in reference to, I found that description created a hollow ring in my soul. My mother had just died, SURELY her reward – her reunion with the Lover of her soul – was more than a chocolate cookie.

Once it got started, it simply seemed to grow. I find that when describing something the words heavenly, divine, preeminent and occasionally glorious, get stuck in my throat/fingers. These words all seem to be attributed to my Lord and not to chocolate cookies, candy or any other …….any other…….(SEE? I end up lost for a good word here ) something things.

In a way, this seems utterly silly and pitiful – every good thing comes from the Father above – so do I need to stop using EVERY word used to describe ANY good thing? Can I never look at a mountain and call it majestic? Will I be stymied from sharing the miracles of birth and calling them awesome? Every thread of the tapestry of creation comes from the garment of the Lord – so all of creation reflects Him, how can I not use words that describe Him when I talk of His creation? I fear I could be on a slippery slope here……

SO, I am asking the following – 1) does anyone but me have this same problem or is it some odd dysfunction I’ve adopted? (you won’t hurt me by telling me it’s my deal. Faithful are the wounds from a friend) and 2) what word/s do you use to describe something that would qualify for being described as heavenly or glorious? and 3) is it simply time to have a Javadawn contest to create a word that would suit such a need?

I think it would be just…..especially truly and magnificently wonderful if you’d reply. 😉

9 Responses to “My struggle with words”
  1. Kristine says:

    I love hearing these words when others use them. However, I very rarely use them myself :

    lovely and delightful

  2. Violet says:

    Yes, I have the same problem, Dawn. We can be “odd” together. I went to my trusty “Synonym Finder” and found some helpful alternatives for the words I would usually apply only to heavenly things. Among my favorites were: imposing, impressive, striking, grand, stately, dignified, superb, and delectable (for you chocolate lovers). I heartily second your choices as well, Kristine!

  3. winkies6 says:

    When we were in culinary school we made a video to remember the good times we had together. I can remember us going around a table describing our lunch. “Delightful, delicious, delectible, destinctive…” Everyone one of us used or made up “de-” words. LOL

    I don’t think I have any words that bother me like that. I’ve found myself saying “awesome and excellent” recently. Simple words for this simple gal. 🙂

  4. Deborah says:

    I haven’t had the same issue as you, really, but something similiar. I HATE it when someone describes something yummy or fun as “sinful.” You know what I mean…like “those chocolate brownies are delightfully sinful.”
    Although, I do suppose it could be sinful at times to eat them, most people use that word to mean “so good it feels bad,” as if it is good to be bad!
    🙂 deborah b.

  5. myderbe says:

    Dawn, we had a conversation similar to this one years and years ago, back when I was in college. I had a professor who was (. . . hmm . an adjective that means really, really good). 🙂 He challenged us to choose our words wisely — does this chocolate dessert really inspire wonder? does that movie really fill me with awe? was my trip to Wal-Mart really provoking terror in me? . . . You get the idea.

    We just toss around those words — wonderful, awesome, terrible, horrible, awful, divine, glorious — without considering their true meaning. By doing so, we weaken words that could have a real impact when used at the right moment. And when we need a word to describe something or Someone who truly is awesome and wonderful and glorious, or some situation that actually invokes terror and horror, we don’t have a word that will provide the appropriate amount of oomph because we’ve cheapened those words by using them frivolously.

  6. Dawn,
    I would second the above comments, especially the ones about cheapening words by using them so frivolously and can I just say it really was in poor taste to describe a cookie as “heavenly” at a funeral? Never one to just shut up and leave it at that, the only thing I would add is that sometimes things we describe with those words on earth are accurately described only because they mirror in some small way the greater attribute of the Lord. For example, a mountain can be majestic, while the Lord is Majestic! A sunrise can be glorious, while God is Glorious! Looking at the stars on a clear night can be an awesome experience because it reminds us of how big our God really is. Our husbands can be tender and loving, our pastors can be wise, we can be forgiving all because we reflect (although poorly at times) the greater attribute of the Lord.

  7. MicheleinNZ says:

    I, too, agree that the overuse of some words does really take away from the overall effect. I remember “awesome” being used so much when I was in high school that it basically loses it’s original meaning. But also, using words in a slang sense that really have a totally different meaning. ‘Wicked’ comes to mind. Our pastor, who is a different sort of guy, once said while preaching ‘ We serve a wicked God.’ WHAT? Although I understand his meaning (and he’s older than me by the way) I really really struggle with describing our holy God with a slang term such as ‘wicked’. maybe I’m just old-fashioned.

  8. Susan says:

    I have some issues with words. Especially one that comes up frequently in my church, too frequently to make the word mean what it means, if you know what I mean!LOL

    Phenomenal:extraordinary, or very remarkable.

    I think of this word being used only on occasion for the very special thing or circumstance. Instead it it thrown around literally every church service. “Our phenomenal missionaries, what a phenomenal day, phenomenal service, worship, etc.” Or “I just met this phenomenal couple.”

    You get the point.

    It. Drives. Me. Crazy. How then do you take anything a person says as sincere, if they throw around these adjectives, meant for the extraordinary, for the ordinary?

  9. javadawn says:

    Thank you Ladies for your input! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one – but I am also challenged to stop and attend to the words of my mouth – have I been flip with the use of them? Do I casually allow the words designated for the incredible to be swallowed up by mediocrity?? It certainly causes me to stop….

    Hey Patricia, where does troglodyte fit in this??! 😉

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