Prepositions, Squirrels, Kettle Bells, and the Subtitle of My Book
On April 29, 2019 | 0 Comments | Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I taught school.

Er, rather, I taught English. Er, humanities.

Er, students.

I taught humanities (which included English) to students. And I loved it.

Which meant that, occasionally, I got to talk about prepositions. Which I also loved.

Prepositions, you say? Why yes, I say. Prepositions.

***

Prepositions, one of the eight parts of speech, and many of them are among the smallest words in the English language.

How’s that? you say.

Well, here are the most common prepositions, listed in order of size. Note, if you will, how small they are:

to, on, in, of, at, by, for, with, over, across.

The longest of them here is only six letters. Small words. And incredibly important.

Important? you say.

Yes, I say.

The job of a preposition is to connect a noun or pronoun in a sentence to another object in that sentence. In other words, prepositions mark the relationship of one thing to another.

Like so: The squirrel ran up the tree.

Here, the preposition is up, and it shows the relationship between the squirrel and the tree.

Simple, and very important.

How so? you say, because squirrels run up trees all the time. No big deal.

And I sigh and I say Still, and I resist the temptation to tell you that you are reminding me here of some of my more reluctant students.

Instead, I show you how prepositions are important:

Let’s say the squirrel is rabid and you are standing nearby. You don’t want that squirrel anywhere near you (or the young child, say, that you are holding nicely by the hand). In this case, you much prefer the squirrel running up the tree rather than, instead, down the tree, because after the rabid squirrel runs down the tree it might also (it is rabid, after all) run toward you and the young child with the intention of biting you, in which case you must immediately hoist the child into your arms (we haven’t used much in the way of adjectives yet, so we don’t know how heavy the child is) and run helter-skelter for some distance (perhaps) toward Shelter From Squirrels.

More than anything, in that moment, you want that squirrel in that tree. In truth, in that moment, the location of the squirrel is of paramount importance.

But, while we’re at it, let’s revisit that paragraph again, and here I will emphasize all of the prepositions, and you will begin to see how very important prepositions are:

Let’s say the squirrel is rabid and you are standing nearby. You don’t want that squirrel anywhere near you (or the young child, say, that you are holding nicely by the hand). In this case, you much prefer the squirrel running up the tree rather than, instead, down the tree, because after the rabid squirrel runs down the tree it might also (it is rabid, after all) run toward you and the young child with the intention of biting you, in which case you must immediately hoist the child into your arms (we haven’t used much in the way of adjectives yet, so we don’t know how heavy the child is) and run helter-skelter for some distance (perhaps) toward Shelter From Squirrels.

See?

Prepositions are Important.

I know, I know. Why be so dramatic? Are prepositions usually so vital?

Well, okay, but look. Say you left your water bottle at the gym (people are always leaving water bottles at the gym). You want your husband, your friend, your whathaveyou to get it for you, so you say, “My water bottle is on the table,” or “next to the kettle bells,” or “under the bench.” You may have given your kind person a description of your water bottle, but telling him or her where that water bottle is makes fetching it for you far simpler and faster. Enter prepositions.

And in another entirely different example, consider the difference between prepositions in the following sentences:

He walked through the water to rescue me.

He walked on the water to rescue me.

In the latter sentence, the he might be someone Entirely Different from the he in the former.

See? Prepositions.

***

But (and you knew that was coming. Did you know that was coming?), prepositions can also be murky. The examples I’ve provided thus far make them oh, so clear, but we use them, too, to show relationships in the abstract.

Take, for example, the title and subtitle of my new book: Wait: Thoughts and Practice in Waiting on God.

We have two prepositions here. Do you see them? Thoughts and Practice in Waiting on God.

Why is it “in”? Why not “for”? The book is about that. It’s about some thinking and understanding for those times when one is waiting on God. And it’s about things one can do when one is waiting on God. So “for” would work nicely here.

Or we could go another route. Skip the preposition entirely and throw in “while,” and now we have a conjunction that means “during the time that.” Thoughts and Practice While Waiting on God. Perfectly applicable.

The thing is that, while prepositions can be very helpful in communicating the specific, they can also make space for generalities. They can suggest the idea of a relationship without assigning one.

In the subtitle of my book, the in functions as a preposition, and it says what it means to: here, in this book, are some thoughts and some practices related to, helpful for, significant regarding waiting on God.

In short, my publisher chose the preposition in, and it works just fine.

***

It’s the latter preposition in the book’s subtitle that is of real interest to me. Waiting on God. Waiting on God. In light of what I said earlier regarding prepositions (that they “mark the relationship of one thing to another”), it’s this piece of the book’s subtitle that really matters.

It’s one thing (and nothing like uncommon) to be dissatisfied, to be in want or need. To be hoping and longing for a change, a thing to come about, a shift in one’s life from one kind of status to another.

But if, within that dissatisfaction, one knows of One who can fix it, a God who could–if he wanted to–snap his fingers and bring baby, spouse, job, health, whatever-one-longs-for–into the picture…. If one is waiting on God, then that dissatisfaction shifts and becomes part of a relationship.

My husband and I–and our dear children–have been waiting on God for a very long time. Almost eighteen years, in fact. In that span we have been very happy and we have also (at times) been desperate. But because we have been waiting on God, we have also had tremendous hope.

It’s that prepositional phrase –that Waiting on God bit– that is the whole reason for the book.

So Much Hope.

I do hope you already know the hope I am talking about. If not, please know that the hope can be yours, too, no matter what you’re waiting for.

And I hope that, when the book comes out (June 4!!) you will read it.

Below, find Ways To Get This Book. And thank you.

Sign up and pledge-to-buy.

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