November 15, 2012

More than an Adjective

I have very little time before my kids wake up, but a thought lit a writing fuse this morning. I'll have to see how fast I can type.

Language is one of my very favorite things and something that drives me crazy very often. It still amazes me that making certain sounds in your presence tells you that I'm thinking of something -- and perhaps something that doesn't exist anywhere outside my brain -- but you can understand what I mean. It's using an ephemeral brush to paint a lasting picture in someone else's thoughts, and I love finding new paint colors, techniques, insights and other things that might make more beauty possible!

Years ago, I mused in a notebook that so many words in English are both noun and adjective: lemon, lavender, cinnamon, apple, orange, wood, plastic, water... those are the only words coming to mind just now, but I know there are so many, many more.

I 'get through' more days than I live, I'm sorry to say. Keeping five steps ahead of small children isn't as easy as it looks; I'm usually coaching myself through prep work to handle the next hoop we jump. This morning, it meant talking myself out of bed to get a "make-do" load of laundry started. I have 7+ loads ahead of me today, but doing a small one first will make choosing the kids' clothes more of a no-brainer decision for me (assuming, of course, that neither child takes exception to the outfits I put in this first load). My point is that right now I have to spend a lot of energy just getting through. I've finally started to realize how miniscule an amount I can control and how quickly my entire day gets reorganized in a matter of moments. Child throwing up? It doesn't matter how carefully I've planned my day full of errands, the original plans are pretty much out the window. (Can I get an 'amen', fellow parents?)

I'm trying to find ways to escape the "do the next thing" mindset, if only because "look up and notice the sunrise" will never be the next thing on a to-do list. Being in this mindset gives me an adjective-view, not a noun-view.

Suppose you ask someone about something, and they reply that it's lemon. Interpretation options mean it's yellow, it's sour or astringent, or it's a dud (if the person says, 'a lemon'). 'Lemon' as a noun as a lot more characteristics to consider than it does as an adjective. Smell, taste, touch, and many other aspects come into play where the noun is concerned...

I'm trying to listen this morning, trying to wrap my head around the idea that defaulting to an adjective life is simplified, more straightforward; lots of gut response and almost no nuance or depth or anything worth savoring. I want to recognize more nouns today. I want to remember that things have dimension, personality, unpredictability, qualities that require me to do more than glance at them to truly know them.

Maybe this is what doesn't work for me where reading through the Bible in a year is concerned. Seeing a list of 3-4 chapters to read in a morning (which I haven't done yet; I was starting laundry instead and may regret that later) puts God on my to-do list. I read through Genesis 29 or 30, check off the box (yes, there is an actual box to check) and try to feel that I've spent time relating to God. It usually doesn't work for me. I never thought about it in this way before.

-At any rate, I'm now 10 minutes late and the kids still aren't up (which means a risk of being late for school)! I'm off and running, but I will try to see depth in my day instead of quick, easily-categorized and crossed off adjectives. I promise.

No comments: