Sunday, August 12, 2012

Returning Each Year

It was perhaps around fourth grade that we were introduced to etymology -- the study of word origins and how they develop.  I was fascinated.  As a child, words simply existed, and the concept that they hadn't always been so was a totally new idea.  Thirty years later, I am still intrigued.

Etymology represents changes which seem small yet point to something quite significant.  New ideas require new words, and in turn, new words shape thoughts to form new ideas.  Word origins also suggest relationships between people groups past and present, as new words are almost always derived from old ones.  Etymology may also provide renewed perspective of meaning.

We celebrate our anniversary this week and, word nerd that I am, I looked up the etymology of "anniversary."  It comes from Latin, with the meaning of "returning every year."  It brings up the question: returning to what?

We return every year to the past, recognizing where we've been as we look still toward the future.  We remember when we met, those awkward early days of getting to know each other, the growing love between us, the consideration of marriage.  We celebrate again that special day sixteen years ago when we vowed to commit to each other for the rest of our lives.  We recognize that we have become different over the years of our marriage, and we honor that, too.

In the busyness of life, it would be easy to become distracted, to forget where we've been and neglect where we're going.  I am grateful for anniversaries, when we intentionally pause to return to the past as we continue moving into the future.

And I am grateful yet again for Mark.  He is a good man.  I am glad to be married to him, glad for his place in my life and my place in his.

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