Word Nerd Wednesday: The Paths We Take

Happy Word Nerd Wednesday! It’s a lovely sunny day here in my home with excellent light, the perfect day to share a story about a first-time homebuyer.

Shawna has just bought her first home, and she’s thrilled to move in and make it her own. She paints the walls, finds furniture, and sets about accessorizing her space. As a lover of nature, she wants to include a range of potted plants to finish the look, so she starts with one plant first, planning to add more in the future.

Unfortunately, though, the plant doesn’t do so well. Whether it was already diseased or needed more sunlight or got improper care, who can tell? (This is a judgement-free zone. Sometimes plants die and it’s no one’s fault. No one’s fault, you hear me?) But whatever the cause, the poor plant slowly turns brown and dies. Definitely not the look Shawna was going for.

So she buys another plant, hoping this time will be different. But this one goes the same way. Perhaps being a plant-owner is simply not in her future. But she’s not willing to give up on the fresh look a plant brings to her space. Like any savvy home designer, she adapts and finds a solution: she substitutes her real but really dead plant with a beautiful, artificial one. No mess, no death, and still a lovely, fresh look.

To “substitute the plant” = supplant (suh-PLANT), meaning to take the place of, to replace. The dead plant is supplanted by an artificial one when Shawna recognizes plant death is becoming a pattern.

Sometimes life does that, thwarts your carefully constructed plans, and so you swerve and create new plans to supplant the old ones. In our story, Shawna embraces that art of adaptation by refusing to compromise the vision of her home as one accessorized with plants; she simply finds another way to accomplish that.

She could keep buying plants and watching them die, hoping one will finally survive, but she doesn’t. Instead, she acknowledges her reality and releases her ideas of how she expected things to be, stepping off the path she thought would lead to her goal. And when she does that, she finds a different way to achieve her vision.

Things don’t always work out how we want them to. So we supplant our plans, our methods, but not our dreams. We can follow Shawna’s example and find a different path, but we don’t have to change our destination.

Word Nerd Wednesday: Stillness

Happy Word Nerd Wednesday! Today’s story is about a very special pet, one we could all learn from.

Neptune is a majestic Greyhound who lives with a lady named Rose. The long-legged creature is an excellent runner, but he would rather spend his days napping or sitting quietly, watching the world with calm eyes. Rose’s friends are confused by how chill her dog is. They want to play with him but Neptune would rather just sit. It makes them wonder if there’s something wrong with him.

“No, there’s nothing wrong with him,” Rose assures them. “He just has a quiet essence.”

“Quiet essence” = quiescence (kwee-ES-ints or kwy-ES-ints, depending on who you ask), meaning a state of quietness or inactivity. In other words, stillness. Neptune embraces quiescence with his quiet manner and ability to relax. His calm and quiescent nature is confusing to people because it’s not what they expect. They assume he’ll jump up, eager to play, but instead he’s generally more content with peace and quiet.

We could all learn a thing or two from Neptune. He doesn’t care what people think of him, how they expect him to be, and he’s happy to be still. So many humans would love to find some peace, but they don’t know what to do with it when they have it. It takes a special kind of skill and grace to be comfortable with stillness and silence, to let oneself drift, for just a moment, into a state of quiescence.

Granted, we’d all have issues if we simply lazed around all day. But a quiescent moment, that’s a beautiful gift if you’re ready to accept it.