Bachelor: (n) a man who is not and has never been married.

I was never a bachelor unless you want to count my high school years.Dictionary B

I got married two months short of my nineteenth birthday, placing me in seclusion from the female of the species, at least romantically. So I don’t feel qualified to speak on the ins and outs of this particular station of life.

But I do know that even though I was a married man, moments of bachelorhood occasionally possessed me, seemingly against my will.

I was never involved in pornography, but I did visit a friend’s house, who had a stack of Playboy magazines next to the downstairs toilet. I resisted them for a brief season, only to find myself perusing briefly.

I have also flirted. Flirt is one of those words that has no obvious definition:

  • Some people say they flirt and it ends up being a confession of having a sexual rendezvous.
  • Some people say they flirt because they offered half of their Twix bar to a stranger.

So I’m sure you’re not satisfied with me saying that “I have flirted.” Let me just say that I have met women who have graciously expressed some interest in me, other than creatively, and I have taken a moment to bask in the glory of that radiance.

I have also lusted after women in my heart. I have rather enjoyed that. I have even gone off to a private place to have deeper expression of that heart-lusting.

I don’t know what is sinful and what is permissible. I think it’s good that we don’t know. Because if we did know, we would still push the barriers further toward sin and farther away from righteousness.

Keeping us confused about our missteps is a good way to make sure that we learn how to walk a straight line.


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dictionary with letter A

Anguish: (n) severe mental or physical pain or suffering.

One man’s severe is another woman’s menstrual cramp.

Therefore, when is it permissible to share your feelings concerning the load you carry? When are we allowed to admit that we hurt?

Because honestly, I have grown up in a world where complaining is permitted and hated at the same time.

Of course, I personally don’t complain. I merely cite examples, while others around me drone on incessantly about their often irrelevant needs.

How do you develop a sympathy for what one person considers to be severe anguish while secretly wondering if they’re just wimping out?

Is there a time to tell people that they’re wimps? Or is that just, in our modern-day society, considered to be another form of verbal bullying?

Over the years, I have learned that there are small windows–tiny little openings that are available when we can share our heart and be candid about our misgivings and pain. It is brief, it is personal and to exceed the time limit or guess wrong and ram your head into a brick wall instead of sticking it through a window is extraordinarily socially embarrassing.

So I have developed the idea that I will listen to almost anyone for about two minutes if they feel the need to flush out their anguish, and will only excuse myself when people either start to repeat themselves or insist that there’s no hope for solution.

We all have different thresholds of pain.

To ask individuals to adapt to my style is just as aggravating as if I were to demand they change the color of their skin.

But intelligent folks learn when to share, when to pray and even, to some degree … when to suffer in silence.


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dictionary with letter A

Ampersand: (n) the sign &, standing for and, as in Smith & Co

Must have been a hard sell.

Sometimes we don’t appreciate how the things we take for granted or assume were always around had to go through a process to become acceptable or even permissible.

Can you imagine the meeting?

Some guy or gal walking in, trying to convince everyone that the word “and” was so repetitive that every once in a while, changing it to this new configuration of an ampersand would be helpful to break up the monotony and obtuse traditionalism.

I don’t know–I might have objected. After all, it’s a slippery slope, right?? Pretty soon, we’ll be inserting pictures of frying pans to represent women and football helmets for men.

Where will it end? After all, how exhausting is it to write a-n-d? And also, after you figure out, with your pen, how to make the ampersand look respectable, you could have written “and” seven times!

It was definitely a public relations miracle, pulled off by some individual determined to simplify our lives, even if the simplification may have been over-simplified.

We must understand that the little victories that etch their way through the stone of committees and boards of scrutiny set in motion the possibility that if something important truly does come along, maybe a crack in the rock will let in some light.

So here’s to the person–whoever he or she is–who came up with the ampersand. It didn’t change anyone’s life. It didn’t heal the sick or raise the dead. It didn’t even leave an imprint in the wet cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

But it lets us know that ideas have a chance … even when they’re teensy-weensy.


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by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Accomplish: (v.) to achieve or complete successfully.

Is it permissible for me to slightly disagree with a definition?

Because I have to be honest with you–I feel like I have accomplished things in my life without being successful. I think placing the term “success,” tying that word to every endeavor, is a great way of discouraging people from launching into activities that might fall short of expectation.

Sometimes I accomplish what I am able to do, but I don’t think anybody would brand it a success. When you take away my sense of accomplishment because I don’t meet our culture’s definition of achievement, you not only rob me of personal satisfaction, but you also greatly tempt me to avoid taking on anything that is risky enough to fall short of the “glory road.”

Sometimes we accomplish without ever seeing success.

Every once in a while, we find ourselves in a garden of despair, praying alone, fully cognizant that we are exactly where we need to be, even though it seems that running away would be a better alternative.

Every once in a while, the criticism nails us to the cross, as it were, where we declare that our work is finished, even though it looks like we are on our last legs.

Not everything is as simple as people make it, or even as Webster dictates. There is a season when ideas must be pursued, even when the prejudice and anger of the world around us dooms them to obscurity. There is a certain amount of bravery necessary to accomplish your mission, without receiving any badge of merit.

No, in this case I have to disagree with the dictionary. It is very possible to accomplish an intricate and essential task without ever being rewarded.

  • It is completely plausible to be a good parent and have lousy children.
  • It is possible to take care of your car and accomplish all maintenance requirements and still break down,
  • And it is certainly in the realm of reasonability to be a good husband or wife and end up in a divorced situation.

If we’re going to use superficial qualifications to have joy in our lives, or if we’re only truly happy when accolades are sent our way, we will eventually steer our ship toward safe, still waters.

Maybe that’s why mediocrity is now accepted as normal–and our world suffers in the malaise.