Friday, November 20, 2015

Old School - Dwell

It's Five-Minute Friday - when a community of writers take on a one-word prompt, set a timer, and go for broke. Kate has given us the word "dwell".  The link will take you to the link-up where you are invited to read and comment -- 


He looked up from the table with one of those smiles of his, flash of white teeth that lit up the room. How could I be offended at the question; sincerity combined with a devilish sense of humor --

"What's the difference, M'am, between old-fashioned, old-school, and traditional?"

I have to say, the M'am gets me. Even though I realize it's a sign of respect, it makes me feel old. M'am. Ergh... I AM old - compared to this soldier. Compared to this young man from the Ivory Coast who is attending class to become more fluent in English. Already highly educated, his question makes me smile.

Guilty. Some of our class discussions have been about education, and politics, and language in general. Comparative discussions -- country to country and era to era. I've mentioned being old-fashioned and now I'm being held accountable.

"What do you think the difference is?"

"Old fashioned is outdated. Old school is wanting things to be the way they were. And traditional is how it was always done. M'am." Eyes crinkled at the corners with the smile.

Bingo! My smile as wide as his, I acknowledge the differences. Small and huge. And we agree that when I call myself old-fashioned, what I really mean is old-school. Truth, I like that. I like that he understands the difference - his language skills are on point. And I like the idea of being old school. It makes me feel like I've matured. Like I can still accept change, but evaluated change. Like there's hope for this old lady yet...

Dwell feels old-school to me. It's rarely used in common language - street language - casual conversation. It's more formal. Like M'am. Respectful. And biblical, Old-Testament biblical.

AND STOP -- But I can't finish without the rest of the story....

According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the word 'dwell' is found 474 times in Bible. Over 400 are found in the Old Testament translated from nine Hebrew verbs. Old school. Abide. Sit. Live. Inhabit.

And now, one of my favorite verses from Psalm 23. See, after David travels to green pastures and still waters, after he walks through the Valley of the Shadow of Death with his God, after he is presented with favor in the face of his enemies, he gushes...

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, 
and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever." Psalm 23:6 (ESV)

And now, here's my old-school thinking... There are letters within the verse that allow substitution. I like the options (see - I'm not old-fashioned, I really CAN handle variety...) 

"Only goodness and steadfast love shall follow me all the days of my life, 
and I shall return to dwell in the House of the Lord for length of days."

Heavenly Father, 
Grant that I return to dwell in your House 
where only goodness and steadfast love reign. 
Always and forever, 
for length of days.
In Jesus name,


  1. "Old fashioned is outdated. Old school is wanting things to be the way they were. And traditional is how it was always done. M'am." That is one smart student! I loved loved loved his definitions, your FMF neighbor.

    1. Sabrina,
      Yes! I loved loved his answer as well. The best part was that he knew full well what the difference was, but he was raised in a culture where students don't contradict teachers, so he was 'schooling' me in a VERY respectful, with a great sense of humor, way. I really enjoyed teaching that particular class - definitely advanced, right?

      I'm really glad you could visit - thankful to be your neighbor today. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  2. Oh, wow. I love where this ends up, in Psalm 23, with how it uses the word "dwell." And your poem: did you plan, or notice, that it forms a pretty little heart with a halo around it?
    Thanks for this blessing!

    1. Hi Sylvia,
      Thank you - Digging into scripture is really compelling to me. Psalm 23 has always been one of my favorites, and I loved where the ESV translation took it - especially the 'return' part. It kind of draws a circle around God's plans. I didn't notice the heart, but I like it! Thanks for showing me!

  3. Ma'am makes me feel old too! I love that line in Psalm 23, such refreshing words. Great post!

    1. Thanks, Tara - It's funny, I like the respect part of M'am, but it makes me feel like my grandmother. I'm glad you could visit; I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  4. Replies
    1. Sharon,
      Thank you for your encouragement. It's kind of weird to hit that 'publish' key sometimes and not know who's reading and what they think. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  5. Beautiful write. We so often take english for granted when we only speak one language. :)

    1. Hi Susan,
      We really DO take English for granted, don't we. I learned a lot from those students - probably more than they learned from me....

  6. The 23rd Psalm is absolutely my favorite go-to psalm for when I'm having any kind of trouble. Great post!!! I love learning about word meanings and how many times its used in the Bible.

    1. Lynette - It's the computers! I am constantly amazed at how much information is available at the touch of a key, and the more I study Scripture, the more amazed I am at how timely and current those God-breathed words are...

      Thank you for stopping by, today, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.


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