Recently, I have gotten more interested in language and how we use it. On January 18, 2006 I posted a short article about the To The Best Of Our Knowledge radio show on words. During part of that show, Dr. Susan Corso was interviewed about her book, God's Dictionary. Unfortunately, this book is out of print, and yet I was able to get a used copy which arrived in the mail today.
Dr. Corso is a pastoral counselor and an etymologist which makes her deconstruction of words very interesting to me. The first word she discusses is "abundance". "Abundance" comes from "ab" which is a latin word which means "from" and "unda" which means a "wave". So the word literally means from a wave.
What is a wave like a wave in the ocean? It is a swelling of the water which defines the crest of the wave and the trough. Waves are creating by winds stirring the water or seismic activity like an earthquake that creates movement of the water or something propelled through the water like a boat or whale.
Dr. Corso mentions how many preachers talk about prosperity and abundance as referring to money or material goods. Money and material goods come and go over the course of a person's life. People have their ups and downs. What creates those waves of prosperity and abundance? It is circulating the money and goods in society. It is one of life's paradoxes that we get by giving, that by putting our money and goods into circulation, they come back to us.
What enjoyment comes from a joke unless it is shared? Music is the same thing. Music isn't at all as enjoyable when kept to oneself. In the sharing, the enjoyment of music is mutliplied.
So, when we look closely at the etymology of the word, "abundance", there is a deep meaning created that the underlying beneficence of the universe is always there like the water in the ocean, and that there are times of richer and poorer which come in waves, and it is in giving that we shall utlimately receive. And I suppose, it is like the law of Karma, that what goes around comes around. Jesus says that if we would have life first we must loose it, that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. David Viscott, an American Psychiatrist, said back in the 80s or 90s that "before you say hello to the future, you must say goodbye to the past".
Life comes in cyles, it comes in waves, and we take the bad with the good, and the good with the bad, and yet over all when we step back and look at things in the long haul we not only deserve to have life, but, as Jesus said, to have it abundantly. Abundantly interestly doesn't mean that we get to have all things at all times, but that we get to enjoy a profusion of things and blessings from time to time and this is heavily influenced by our own generosity and giving natures. As we learned in kindergarten, people like you better if you share.