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: Against the Currents

Happy Word Nerd Wednesday! Today’s word is especially pertinent to the world today. And it starts with a situation in Lena’s workplace.

Lena’s new manager seems like a smart guy but he’s misinformed on a few details. In a meeting, he declares information Lena knows for a fact to be false, crediting one employee with a brilliant new idea when it was actually the work of one of Lena’s team members. Unwilling to let the misinformation stand, Lena speaks up to set the record straight, giving credit to the correct coworker and going against what her new manager is saying.

“Against the say” = gainsay (gain-SAY), meaning to contradict, oppose, or deny. In our story, Lena gainsays her manager regarding the true originator of the new idea. In essence, she speaks truth to power. It’s not an easy thing, speaking up against one person, much less an entire group. It requires an unequivocal certainty of what is true and the determination that speaking up is absolutely necessary. Sometimes such actions come at a significant personal cost.

So is it worth it, to gainsay those spreading misinformation? Lena’s coworker certainly appreciates it. Those who earnestly seek truth instead of bandwagons will always appreciate the gainsayers, those who go against strong currents to illuminate other perspectives. It doesn’t mean those who speak up to contradict information are always right.┬áBut the only way a society can grow and evolve is to allow those with opposing viewpoints to be heard.

It’s why free speech is so vital. History has shown us that silencing those who disagree is a first step toward a disturbing future. It’s important that anyone, even you, has the ability to gainsay authority. Use your power wisely.