Have you ever gone to write something down only to suffer from the curse of the “blank page?” You know, down in the core of your being, once you get started, your writing is going to flow, but until then the page and your mind remains blank. Argh! This is exactly what happened when I finally sat down to write the article for this month. There is so much going on, but it just swims around in your head like a goldfish in a mason jar … round and round but not going anywhere. That in itself got me thinking about the whole process of musing and how that strange word came into our vocabulary.
After a bit of research (thanks Merriam Webster and Online Etymology Dictionary), I found, like so many of our words, “musing” has its root in the Greek language and derives from the word, amousos. From this same word we get the words amusing, amusement, bemused and such. I found this fascinating because when we think about “musing,” we think of it as being in thought or meditation, or, in the South, “pondering” something. Whereas with “amusing,” we think of as entertaining. Then it hit me, something I learned from Mrs. Munsterman, my 9th grade English teacher. When you place the letter “a” in front of a word it generally means the opposite of the original word. For instance, we heard a lot about symptomatic and asymptomatic people during early COVID days. So, if you are “musing” and in thought, you can become “amused,” or distracted, from thought. Isn’t that what amusement does? It distracts us from other thoughts.
Is that bad? No. With all the daily grind and news of one issue after another and the constant ramping up to sensationalize already heartwrenching situations, we need a little break. We have collapsed buildings, fires and heat waves, flood and storm damage, and of course, there is the hot air in Washington D.C. (personally I feel the political machine may be a prime source of global warming). I think we need a little amusement. When your attention is focused on a project, either personal or for work, and your spouse or child or friend pops by and distracts you, don’t get hot and bothered; reframe it. Think instead, that was amusing.
We humans tend to get so hyper-focused on various aspects and occurrences of life that we forget how interconnected our “being” is. Our physical, emotional and spiritual parts are inextricably tied together. When one part is tired and worn down, the others become stressed. The Old Testament/Hebrew Bible tells us that after creating, God rested. It was not that God needed a breather, but rather to show us, God’s creation, that we do. We need time off … we need rest, distraction, amusement. So, friends, there are only two to three weeks left before the summer vacation ends and the school year gears up. I hope and pray that you (and your family) have taken some time to kick back, relax and be amused by one another. Have you allowed yourself to be purposefully amused lately?