First, you start with some easy words, sounded out by clumsy lips and tongue only a few short years after you’re born, meanings consumed and discarded as quickly as chewing gum
A is for apple. B is for baseball. C is for carrot. D is for dog.
And then, when you’re a little older, there are some words with lots of syllables that cause your eyes, your mind to pause as you come upon them on the page, words like stop signs, touch and go, touch and go, and one day, your muscles remember their meanings
Imminent: about to happen. Monologue: one character’s long speech on a stage. Circumlocution: using more words than you need. Ephemeral: fleeting, brief.
But some words you don’t understand until after you’ve kept them locked up inside you for ages, or maybe never at all
Forgive? Love? Suffer? Justice? God?
and these words contain living and breathing novels, increasing constantly in nuance, mystery and meaning, and every time you read or write or speak them out loud you get closer to the heart of things, and you realize you were gloriously, spectacularly wrong before, and maybe, even after a million years have passed, you’ll still never really understand these words, but you know that it is an honor and a privilege to try