Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I used to have a web page dedicated to the misuse of the English language. You know, those little phrases that people use, but use them incorrectly. Our language is confusing enough without us adding new words to it. When people use words that don't exist they leave it us to determine what they meant. Sometimes meanings are easy to figure out. Other times, not so much.

Here is an example of what I am talking about. Have you ever heard someone use the word orientated? I say "word" but that's really incorrect. Orientated is NOT a word. Go ahead. Look it up. It's not in the dictionary. The correct word to use is oriented. But people still use orientated because they have always used it and apparently don't know any better.

Another phrase I have heard often is "I could care less." That's nice, but what I think they REALLY want to say is, "I COULDN'T care less." If we can care less that means we actually do care somewhat. But if we COULDN'T care less that's the absolute bottom in the world of caring.

I'm not a perfect user of the English language either. Just this morning I greeted someone in the hallway at work, "Good morning, Dawn." JUST a little redundant.

Then there are those times when whatever words we speak, even the correct ones, have no meaning at all. We can even have trouble finding the right words to say in times of extreme joy or sorrow.

"I'm speechless," someone might say. Well, if that were true, why did you SAY something? Isn't being speechless saying nothing? Speaking of speechlessness . . .

My friend at work has a son in the Air Force. She knew he was coming home on leave in the near future but wasn't expecting him to show up last night. SHE was speechless last night. She just kept looking over a her son . . . and smiling.

This week I have been experiencing the words of people wanting to express their sorrow over the impending death of my father. It's always an awkward time. Most are not wanting to cause any bad feelings. They don't want to cause any additional pain for us by saying the wrong thing. Most people tend to say nothing, even avoiding eye contact in hopes that a conversation won't start up. That's sad.

"I'm sorry," is always a good thing to say. But beyond that I have found that most sayings simply don't cut it. They don't cut it because they are sayings. They're just something people say because they have heard other people say it. However, I have found something that really works, in times of joy AND in times of sadness. No words need to be spoken at all, removing the potential awkwardness factor of most sayings. It is a simple hug.

Yesterday at work a friend of mine who knew that my father was dying came walking by my office, on her way to a meeting. When she saw me she stopped, reached out a hand and placed it on my arm and asked, "How's your dad?" I told her all that was going on. Her reply to all that I said contained no words. She just gave me a hug. That wordless message said everything that needed to be said.

I don't mean to pick on people and their not knowing what to say in certain life situations. But I think we as a people need to spend more time focusing on love and on others rather than focusing on OUR feelings and how WE might feel awkward.

I'd like to take you back to the basics of our faith - the greatest commandment. Read it and let it soak in for a moment.

"36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” - Matthew 22:36-40

The thing God wants us to do most is love. The messages we communicate to others should NOT be about SAYING things. It should be about demonstrating the love that Jesus Christ showed us on the cross. He said very little but what He did has echoed throughout this world for 2000 years.

Love God. Love others. Saying things only gets in the way.

Words by George Carlin

No comments:

Post a Comment