Merriam Webster definition:
- extremely valuable or useful
As children, we are taught to breakdown the individual parts of words and sentences. We are told that learning this will help us to be better readers, writers and communicators. We are told that developing this skill will increase our understanding. This is true, but there are exceptions – senseless variations from the otherwise logical flow of the English language. Just yesterday, while seeking to express the high worth of something to a friend, I used the word “invaluable”. According to the dictionaries I later consulted, my use of this word accurately communicated what I intended. The question is, “why?” My elementary lessons taught me that prefixes have meaning and that meaning is applied to the root word to which they are attached. Here are some examples:
- incapable = not capable
- inadequate = not adequate
- indistinguishable = not distinguishable
- intolerable = not tolerable
There are hundreds more examples. See for yourself here.
How is it, then, that invaluable (“not valuable”) means the exact opposite of its logical collective? I don’t know the answer; I just know that it has happened. In fact, there are a lot of words in our language that have taken on different meanings than one would logically assume. Further, there are words to which we have so long applied an inaccurate definition that we may have never perceived the fallacy of thought to which they lead.
My thoughts this morning relate to the “natural”. I have often placed this word on the opposite end of the spectrum from “eternal”.
- natural world – eternal world
- natural man – eternal man
- natural thoughts – eternal thoughts
Thus making the “natural” something that is failing, dying, decaying, depraved – less than perfect; and the “eternal” something that is excelling, living, better, lasting – perfect. I believe this is an error. I also believe this error serves as both excuse for today and deterrent from live lived well tomorrow. You see, God created everything we know and it was absolutely perfect. Therefore, the “natural” state of all things was and is “eternal”. Anything less than perfect is not natural; it is simply the result of our uncanny ability to screw things up.
This slight shift in thought has huge implications. The moment we accept that the way things are in our minds, our lives, our world is not natural, we must also accept that there was something better. This also implies that all was made for something better. Perhaps there is hope that it could be better again.
I chose to not accept the corruption of my life and world as “natural”. Instead, I will seek to be part of the redemption of all things back to their naturally perfected state.