Waste not, want more

No variations on a theme.

Words (and other things resembling words) that warm my cockles: #8

(As a lover of words, phrases, lyrics, plays on words and so on, and someone seeking ways to better celebrate the little things, I’ve decided to develop a series dedicated especially to these linguistic trinkets.)

It’s been some time since I’ve done a Words that Warm post, 10 months in fact. In part, I was boring myself; in part, I had run out of words that I felt like celebrating. Don’t feel sad for me or hate my bad attitude (well you can, if you want). I didn’t want to dig for others. I wanted it to be a sort of organic exercise, rather than one focused on producing.

Today, I felt like celebrating a particular word. So here I am again:


I can’t hear this word without thinking that I don’t use it, think about it, or appreciate it often enough. The “g” isn’t the tenderest letter in the English language but I find the word pretty and dig its one syllable confidence. I love that it can connote physical, spiritual, or personal grace. While physical grace is not something I’ve ever been able to muster, I can appreciate it’s beauty in dance, movement, or manner of being.

As for spiritual grace, I can’t claim to be an authority on its more religious elements by any stretch, and it has meanings in numerous religions. However, back when I was a non-consenting party to Catholicism, one of my favourite themes was grace – as I understood it. In my tiny head, grace went beyond the idea of salvation. It was that bit of God-joy you could see reflected in someone’s small act of kindness, biblical or otherwise. I always found that a magical moment in church: when someone, a priest generally since mass was never a town hall meeting, spoke about kindness.

Today, for me, a person who demonstrates grace is able to voice their point of view while respecting the experiences and perspectives of others. They can call into question an idea without calling out a person. They exude poise without making a heroic effort to maintain their composure. Their ego doesn’t get in the way, which is part of why I think truly graceful people have the power to lead change.

There’s silent grace too of course, which is often harder to identify. Protagonists often have grace to share. Perhaps I would think many people exhibited it if I could see them the way I see a character in a novel.

I value this personal grace immensely. But maybe I’m giving grace far too much credit. Do muscles or a microphone give grace the boot more often than I’d like to think?


September 26, 2011 - Posted by | Childhood Complaints, Words that warm | ,


  1. Gosh, what a beautiful post. I’m sure it has something to do with loving the word itself, as well as the concept of grace so much. And I also love the notion of “g” being the tenderest sound in the English language. Actually, that’s another word I don’t think we appreciate or use enough–“tender.”

    Great post, Rose!


    Comment by Kathryn McCullough | September 26, 2011 | Reply

    • Tender is a good word! I thought ‘g’ is more likely to be tagged as ugly than tender though, but I suspect it’s arguable.

      Comment by Rose | September 26, 2011 | Reply

  2. Really thought-provoking post, Rose. I really like your examples of how people demonstrate grace (or gracefulness). Maybe it’s because I was recently berated by somebody in a decidedly ungraceful manner, but I particularly enjoyed the bit about “calling out ideas vs people”. 🙂

    Comment by Dana | October 26, 2011 | Reply

    • I’m glad you thought so. Sorry about the beration – that’s no good. I generally don’t call things out period, because I don’t feel I’m very good at separating out ideas from people, but I’d like to get better.

      Comment by Rose | October 27, 2011 | Reply

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