Wednesday, February 10, 2010

a note about 'pondering'

I realize I often use the word "ponder" in these musings and thought I might say something about what I mean by it.

The title of this blog "Under the Castor Oil Tree" is an allusion to the end of the OT book of Jonah. The story ends with Jonah on a hill overlooking Nineveh, pondering all that has happened. The tree he sits beneath, withered and dead from a worm at that point, is --some scholars believe--a Castor oil tree. After running away from God only to get thrown in the sea and swallowed by a great fish that regurgitates him right where God wanted him to go...and after proclaiming the destruction of Nineveh only to have God spare the city because the people repent--much to Jonah's disappointment...and after sitting in the blistering sun asking God to kill him only to have God cause a tree to grow and shade him, until God kills the tree---well, I don't know about you, but that seems a lot to ponder about.

You can google ponder and find out how any number of dictionaries define it. But what I mean is an experience that causes you to say "Huh..." to yourself and start to wonder about the deep down meaning of things.

Pondering, as I use the word, isn't directed toward discovering an answer to your quandary or a way out of whatever quagmire you find yourself in. Quite the contrary, what I mean by "ponder" is to muse and wonder and consider the implications and possibilities of things. "Answers" are for fraidy-cats--people unwilling the examine the quandary for its own sake or explore the quagmire rather than struggle to get out. If you keep saying "Huh..." to yourself over an extended period of time, you're doing what I call pondering.

I have a friend who I think either ponders most everything or simply has developed a habit of saying "Huh...." He has raised saying "huh..." to an art form. Others who know him actually try to distinguish between the tones and timbres of his wide assortment of 'huh's...'

That wouldn't be a bad thing for all of us to be habitual about--wondering, considering, reflecting...all of which are a part of pondering. The older I get, the more things there seem to be to ponder upon....

Happy pondering....I hope your tree doesn't die....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive

About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.