Have you ever used 50-cent words? You know, those obscure kind of words which describe something simple but make you sound like you aced the vocab section on your SATs.
Fifty-cent words are those terms that the average Joe just doesn’t use in normal conversation. And I ran across one of those words – transmogrify – when I scanned through an email announcing the theme for this week’s Word Press photo challenge.
Okay, so I’ll admit there are a plethora of words I don’t normally use and probably don’t know. But transmogrify? That word just wasn’t on my radar screen and I had to admit I thought to myself, “Is that REALLY a word?”
So skeptical me, I didn’t take the challenge’s word for it, I looked transmogrify up in my desk dictionary – not listed. Aha, I thought. But then I dusted off THE dictionary, our large volume of Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language College Edition, dragged if off the book shelf, and searched its pages for this word.
Sure enough. It’s a word. Transmogrify, a transitive verb meaning to change completely; transform, especially in a grotesque or strange manner.
Well, I can certainly identify tons of objects, aspects, ideas, etc., that change completely. All I have to do is look outside my window. The maple trees in our yard have transformed from being clothed in verdant green leaves to vibrant orange-red ones. And they are beautiful.
But that’s not strange because it’s a change of season. Summer’s kaput and fall is all the rage. And it’s definitely not grotesque either. Autumns colors are a beauty to behold.
Frankly, I’m not into grotesque. Ugly, bizarre, monstrous. That’s what I think of when I imagine something changing grotesquely. Ugliness doesn’t capture my attention. No thank you, I’d rather look for beauty in this world because there is just way too much ugliness promoted by us human beings.
So the chances of my having a photo depicting transmogrification (I told you it was a 50-cent word!) in the true sense of the word are slim to none. And I’m in no mood to venture out in search of a photo op of something bizarre.
But then I realized that an object that would be considered grotesque could also mean something distorted or misshaped. And a photo I took a couple of years ago came to mind.
Walking through a lovely local park one late summer day with my camera in hand, I passed by a tall, sturdy tree that caused me to stop. What stopped me wasn’t how pretty the tree was, although it certainly was a worthwhile giver of shade.
What caused me to pause was an ugly blemish on that tree. Obviously at some point, the tree had been pruned and what remained was a knobby, gnarly, bizarre-looking growth over the place where the limb had been cut off. A one-time normal looking tree had morphed into something distorted.
I snapped a photo of it because it just looked so strange to me and naturally, I thought maybe I could use the picture in a blog post someday. Well, someday has arrived over three years later.
Transmogrify? I think so. And it reminds me of myself. I can have a pleasing appearance yet if I let my heart harden with sinful behavior or thoughts, part of me transmogrifies into something ugly and grotesque, just like this tree.
Yet, God, in His everlasting gift of forgiveness, still sees beauty in me. Enough to call me His own.
Even though I have transmogrified many times in my life, I can still be transformed by His saving grace. And for that I am thankful.
“The extent of God’s grace always eclipses the extent of my grotesqueness. Therefore, I can never be bad enough for God to tell me that He’s had enough.” ~ Craig D. Lounsbrough