Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Word for Wednesday: Ephemeral (A Series of Posts about Words)

When I was a junior in high school one of my classes was a creative writing class focused exclusively on poetry. I had no patience for poetry, I'm afraid to say. After all, I believed that words are best when they are in the good company of many other words. But after a semester (and then two more) of living in poetry, I learned to cherish good words. I'd like to start sharing some of them with you on this blog. 

Word for Today: Ephemeral

Definition: According to the dictionary we need words about time - being short-lived, lasting only a moment, temporary. We need words that say - "it will only be here for a little bit, and then it will disappear."

Some of my definitions:

Ephemeral, adjective. The first moment that you step outside into windy winter, your hair plastered to the neck of your jacket, your hands neatly tucked into their coat pockets and you survey the world: fresh-faced and dusted with snow.

Ephemeral, adjective. The word for the moment when you see someone you've been waiting to see for weeks, and you are simply... lit. You glow, incandescent, beaming out light. The word for the moment you run forward and throw your arms in a big bear-hug around the person and hold on tight, an extra second of love squeezed into your arms.

(Mandie... too beautiful not to share)
Ephemeral, adjective. The word for that music you hear when there isn't anything playing, no noise blasting from your computer or your stereo or the conversation next to you. The word for that violin solo that lingers just one second after all has been hushed. Can you hear it?

Ephemeral, adjective. The word for the quick, quiet smile, almost hidden but not quite, when you look at the most beautiful finger painting from the two year old with her stringy blond hair, the look between mothers and daughters that catches us all breathless.

Ephemeral, adjective. The word that grates against what we wish life could be: endless cycles of cupcake eating adventures and late nights around a kitchen table, fall weather in Lincoln Park as you and your friend laugh right into the camera, unafraid of tossing leaves in the air with that mischievous grin.

We wish it wasn't fleeting - all this living. We wish for anything but the ephemeral. We wish for the endless.

... and we are promised eternity. But maybe, just maybe, we can't know what eternity might be until we look at the gift of ephemeral. Maybe we can't hear God say, "Behold I am with you always, to the end of the age"(Matthew 28.20) until we hear all those moments that pass us by, all those beautiful, fleeting moments of new ideas and unread books and hot chocolate with whipped cream and oven baked chicken with your girlfriends and hugging friends and kissing spouses and rocking children to sleep, writing the last line of a story and putting music onto paper.

And so I say too:

Ephemeral, adjective. The word that God loves to defy - for He is with us always.



  1. I love this idea, and I love this post! Beautiful writing. :)

  2. Thank you! I'm excited to write them right in the middle of the week - when things usually seem so busy and full. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  3. i so enjoy this.
    miss you very much.

  4. Mandie, I so enjoy the thought of a trip to Seattle to see YOU. Or perhaps you venturing towards Boston? Either way, we will need to see each other, PRONTO. Thank you for visiting me here!


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