I listen carefully to words. The words people use, and the words I find myself using, are endlessly fascinating to me.
Here is an example – yesterday I overheard Bill, effusive in his appreciation of help from a work collegue say: “I am eternally grateful to you.”
It struck me as an odd thing for him to say for two reasons –
- Pre-camino Bill would never have used the word “eternal” or “grateful” and –
- The expression “eternally grateful” itself.
How does such an expression exist in our thought processes? We, as a group of human beings believe ourselves to be finite – we are born and then we die. It’s a consensus belief, one we all agree with. In fact we often say that death is the one thing we can be sure of.
And yet we carry this expression eternally grateful in our thought and language. But in this expression we acknowledge the opposite. We acknowledge our ability to be grateful to another person for all eternity. We say I am eternal and you are eternal.
How is it possible for us to carry an expression like this within our group thought structure? It goes against all society’s accepted ideas of our finiteness. It denies “death” as a possibility. And yet it exists within our language.
Could it be that when we say “I am eternally grateful,” we are remembering who we truly are?