I like finding connections between words.
Take the example of the Korean word for “apple” and “apology”. The same word is used for both in Korean: 사과. I’m not sure how common it’s used in everyday Korean culture, but in Korean dramas, an apple is sometimes extended to someone with whom you want to apologize with. I like that. An apple is healthy and life-building. Apologizing is exactly that, as well.
I found another connection as I was recently reading The Invaders by John Flanagan to my son. I kept messing up on the word “bow”. In the bow of the ship, they had a bow. You can see the problem, right? I had to know the context of the word to use the right pronunciation. In this case, the letters are the same, but the way they are said sets them apart.
Bow...bow...but wait, there’s a third! The verb! To bow! Of course, my mind made yet another connection. The bow of the ship is at the front. What is a respectful thing to do to someone, especially in Eastern cultures (but not exclusively)? You bow! You bow, "up front" or, "first"!
A quick description of bowing can be found in Day Translation’s Bowing the Head – Different degrees of showing respect. Bowing is a sign that you aren’t holding yourself above someone. The more emotion you want to show, the further down you bow. This is especially true if your bow is connected to...an apology.
Why am I saying all this? Because I think we could all use some more apples, apologies and bows in our lives.
Did you do any New Year resolutions? If not, or if you’ve fallen, it’s OK. Grab some food today that you know is better for you. While you’re at it, if you can donate some food to someone less fortunate, think healthy as well as tasty. Everyone deserves nutritious food that also tastes good.
Let’s not just blow it off when we realize we’ve hurt someone. Let’s tell them we’re sorry and let’s truly mean our apologies. I find myself thoughtlessly saying “Sorry!” for silly things that aren’t actually my fault. Do you? Let’s not, and save those words for when they really matter. And then, use them freely and with genuine hearts. “I am very sorry for…”.
Whether figuratively or literally, let’s bow: let’s show each other more respect. Why not? What do we really have to lose? Let’s not lash out online or in our cars to strangers, for example. Let’s try to remember that we all have stuff going on- sometimes really bad stuff. Let’s volunteer our time and our minds to those beyond our own doors a bit more. By doing that, we both respect others and ourselves more.
We’ll see similarities that will help us remember that everyone is on the same ship...together with us.