Word Nerd Wednesday: Time to Soar

Welcome back to Word Nerd Wednesday! I trust you’ve all finished off those Thanksgiving leftovers and are being fully swept up into Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa preparations. Today’s word nerd story is about being swept up into something rather similar.

Melody is a wonderfully talented fourteen-year-old. Musically gifted, she’s been playing cello since she was a child. And as is the case this time of year, her school has a holiday recital, and Melody has a solo. Since she’s incredibly shy, it’s the first time Melody has had a public solo. She’s understandably nervous, and her mother is practically terrified for her. It seems to take ages before it’s Melody’s turn, her nerves building backstage. Finally, she takes her place on stage, sucks in a deep breath, and begins playing. The audience is transfixed, the beautiful notes soaring over them as Melody loses herself in the music, her hours of practice carrying her through her performance flawlessly.

Afterward, Melody’s mother is in tears from the beautiful performance. She’s never heard her daughter play like that. “Note by note, Melli flew us to a beautiful place,” she murmured.

“Melli flew us” = mellifluous (mel-LIF-loo-us), meaning smooth, lyrical, or sweet. Melody’s mellifluous playing touched people in a way that only music can, taking them on a beautiful journey. But this adjective doesn’t only refer to sounds. From the Latin words for honey and to flow, it can also refer to sweet-tasting foods or anything that has a pleasant rhythm and flow, like poetry.

As Melody would no doubt tell you if she were a real person, sharing with people can be unnerving, even terrifying. But we are each gifted in specific ways. Melody’s gift is music, a special ability to elicit mellifluous notes from her cello and send them soaring. And when she summons the courage to share her music, people are touched by it, their lives improved by her offering.

Whatever your gifts are, there’s no time like the present to breathe new life into them through study and practice and then share them with the people around you. It is, after all, the season for giving. You never know what good may come of it.

Word Nerd Wednesday: Use Your Words as a Weapon

Happy Word Nerd Wednesday! Today’s story is about a battle, the kind of battle you might know very well.

Marissa is a hard-working, intelligent woman. She’s confident, and she knows who she is. These traits have attracted the negative attention of a man named Calvin. He regularly makes disparaging, belittling comments about her. Always wanting to take the high road, Marissa tries to ignore him, telling herself his comments are just childish taunts. But then, Calvin starts making negative reports about her to their boss.

“This has become war,” Marissa tells herself. She finally realizes that it’s time to step into battle. She will not let anyone diminish her. So she carefully creates a plan and takes aim, as she finally fights back against her enemy Cal.

“Enemy Cal” = inimical (in-IM-ih-coll), meaning hostile or having the disposition of an enemy. It isn’t until Marissa acknowledges Cal’s actions are having a significant negative influence that she realizes it’s time to fight back.

Sometimes ignoring someone is the right choice. But other times, when the other person’s actions become inimical and begin to have a significant, negative impact on your life, it’s time to step up and defend yourself before it’s too late. That’s the power of words, to label someone’s actions in such a way that you are able to see clearly and feel compelled to act. For Clarissa, labeling Cal her enemy gave her the clarity she needed to see it was time to act.

It’s admirable to take the high road, to turn the other cheek. But it’s also important to be able to see when someone is acting in a way that is hostile to you and your future. You and your life are worth defending. Even against an enemy named Cal.