I learned something I never knew about words this week. Maybe you've heard of it, but I had not!
Contronym. A single word with two contradictory meanings.
In other words, a word that is its own opposite.
Here’s some solid examples from a googled list I found:
To Seed: you can put seeds IN the ground, or take them OUT of a watermelon slice.
To Rent: you can rent out an apartment you own, but you can also rent an apartment someone else owns!
To Dust: we dust powdered sugar ON to our French toast or strawberries, or dust the dust OFF of a table.
I got lost down a rabbit trail of a contronym list because the English language totally fascinates me. You know, like why are two socks called a pair, but so is one pair of underwear? This boggles my mind!
One contronym in particular caught my attention, though. Nestled in the middle of the list was the word BOUND.
My eyes settled there first, then my heart. I read that word and all of the right-now worries of my day flooded in like the unwelcome heat wave that has made my city its home this week.
If I’m being honest, that word sums up about how I’m feeling today. Bound by the long days at work. Bound by court dates and hard phone calls with a person who is not really in our life, but still effects it. Bound by my own feelings of not doing enough, being enough, or accomplishing enough. I’m drained in a way that I haven’t been in a long time. And today, I let complaining settle on my lips and live there longer than I should have provided it the permission to do so.
Earlier, I made this confession to my sweet friend, Taiko. The confession where I say out loud that I surrendered to complaining and tucked joy into my back pocket. Her response?
Eh, real life. Complaining is healthy. Venting the burdens off our chest is necessary sometimes.
She’s right. And I didn’t stay in that place long, but I stayed there long enough today (and probably some other days, too) to know that being bound by the things and situations of my life is not the way I would like for my life story to read.
Bound. Restrained from movement.
This was the place I allowed myself to be today.
But there’s another definition for bound.
Bound. Heading to a destination.
There’s freedom in those words! It’s the complete opposite of sitting in the hard things and making them your home. I don’t want to stay bound by those things, do you?
What I want to do is get up and be a chooser of joy! That’s way more my jam, and most days that’s the campsite you’ll see me pitch my tent on.
Everyone is bound by something whether they acknowledge it or not. But we get to choose what it is that holds us captive, and perhaps more importantly, we get to choose which master it is that we serve in this life. The one who keeps us tied up in our troubles, or the Giver of life Himself?
So, today I’ll take Taiko’s advice and not sweat it when I’m human and need someone to listen. But I also won’t allow myself to stay there. I’ll acknowledge the hard things for what they are, but I won’t let them hold me captive.
I’m hitting the open road in search of joy, instead! So today, and every day, I’ll be bound by one thing only. Hope for a better tomorrow than I had today. Hope on the journey to seek out joy even when I don't feel like it. Hope always!
P.S. It’s Taco Tuesday and while our family motto is still firmly “Jesus Before Tacos”… I want you to know that there were, in fact, tacos eaten today. And here’s the proof…