What's in a Word | All Blogs

Small miracles

By Debra Dobbins

Sorry, but I beg to differ.

If Miller had understood the etymology of “enthusiasm,” he may have chosen a word such as “zest” instead.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word meanders all the way back to Middle French in the 1600s on back to Latin and then back to the Greek word enthousiasmos, meaning "divine inspiration.” That word evolved from “enthousiazein ‘be inspired or possessed by a god, be rapt, be in ecstasy.’” And that word came from entheos, meaning "divinely inspired, possessed by a god."

Entheos contained two word parts. “En” meant “in,” and “theos” meant “god.” We still see the word part “theo” in many words that have God as part of their meaning. For example, theology is the study of God. Theocracy is “the rule of a state by God,” according to Webster’s. Then there’s my favorite, Theodore, which means “gift of God.” That was my father’s first name, and he lived up to it.

If one believes that miracles are divinely inspired, then enthusiasm is indeed part and parcel of them.

Yes, I would agree that one needs to believe in miracles, but belief can come and go, as well. Might not we all admit that our belief, our faith, and yes, even our enthusiasm, waver a time or two as life presents its unique challenges?

Even though the modern-day world sometimes seems devoid of divine inspiration, I think the trick to continue believing in miracles is to discover some small event or sight each day that recharges our enthusiasm, our faith and our belief.

With that in mind, it’s time to admire those daffodils by the Sentinel’s back door again. With nighttime temperatures still hovering around freezing, they seem like small miracles to me.

Photo special to the Sentinel


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