As a preteen I struggled with missing my grandfather deeply. But even at the age of 12 I understood that his death meant something different to my mother and grandmother. Years later when one of my brothers was tragically killed by a crush injury when he was just barely into his 30s the words 'grief', 'loss', 'sadness', all took on new meaning after his death.
Even a word like 'comfortable' is comprehended in a different way after living abroad for almost eight years. Creature comforts, like a really good pillow, air conditioning, or an ant-free home, turn from simple pleasures into luxury items I daydream about. Feeling comfortable is no longer a given...it's a priceless treasure when experienced.
The word 'joy' has changed for me as I've gotten older. Times of hardship have caused me to appreciate joy. Joy is deeper and more lasting than mere happiness. Whenever I hear people on tv or in a movie say "I deserve to be happy"....I smile and think to myself I would much rather have joy in my life than happiness.
As I continue to ponder words and phrases that mean something different to me now than they did 30 years ago I also have to consider God's word. I understand better today how ALIVE scripture truly is. I see things that I didn't see before...though I may have read or meditated on a passage a thousand times...today it's brand new.
And when the affliction is over and the burden has been lifted and the trial has been faced...I can always find something to be grateful for. I can glean from my new vocabulary and praise God for a few more puzzle pieces being filled in.
I can lift my head and know that He holds my hand through each lesson, as He impresses them on my mind, and we talk about them on the way, as I lie down and when I rise up. I can try to share what I have learned just as I try to learn from others. But, there are some words that just won't have the richness and depth they are due until we are face to face with their true meanings for ourselves.