I was writing in my prayer journal the other day and I realized that I use the salutation, “Lord”, while if I’m praying aloud or silently I tend to use, “Dear Lord”, which I thought was interesting. I don’t know why I do that, but it did get me started thinking about what it means to address someone as, “dear”. Let’s go back to Merriam-Webster and see what they say it means. There are other definitions besides the one I am choosing to use, but this best suits the point of the blog. The definition I chose defines dear as, “highly valued”, and goes on to say that it is often a word used in a salutation. How often do you use “dear” as a salutation? I don’t use it much anymore, even though I do write to people from time to time. In casual writing I will use the person’s first name, especially if they are a fairly close friend, in professional correspondence I tend to use a last name, or “to whom it may concern”, if I don’t have a name to go on. I think sentiment is often lost in the written word now, though clearly there are some notable examples of where it still thrives, such as Harry Potter. Can you tell I thoroughly enjoy those books? Anyway, I do, I think it has been lost in technology, now we text each other short sentences, maybe long texts, we message each other on Facebook, in roughly the same fashion, e-mails seem to be becoming more brief and less formal. Why is this? Obviously to some extent it’s easier, but what happened to using “dear” in my world and others’? I don’t know. But to think that just one four letter word could get across to them, “you’re someone I deeply care about, look at this letter I wrote you, I sincerely hope you’re doing well and want to know all about what’s going on in your life”, or, “I love you, you highly valued person”. Just one word. There is so much implied within it, yet I fail to write it, and I like to think I’m not the only one, but maybe that’s just egocentric because goodness knows I don’t want to feel bad about myself at all. I think that this happens with a lot of words, though lately I have only been fixated on “dear”, so I have not thought of many others. Perhaps “sincerely” could be included, and “fond”, or possibly even simple words like “happy” or “sad”, though there are many others to get into deeper emotions than that. So anyway, I feel it is good practice to take a moment to think about the words we are using and what they really mean in our world.
Who comes to your mind when you hear the word “dear”?
P.S. Crest may have a mouthwash that has no alcohol and thus advertises that it has no burn of alcohol, but man, it definitely has a burn of something!