#%$ Four Letter Words

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris

Lately, I’ve been spending a whole lot time thinking about words.  There was the week I spent focused solely on the word juggle. Didn’t really come to any giant breakthrough on the word, but I did realize that my study of the word juggle is about as bad as my ability too juggle.

I also need to mention the two weeks spent working deep in thought on the word “is”.  Surprising thing about the word is is that it is used quite a bit in the English language and is what I consider one of the most understudied words.  I’m still working on my thesis for the word, but I don’t know where the file is.

Recently, the word can’t has come under my microscope and has been at the center of my study. I’ve taken a real personal interest in the word can’t because for so many years the words has kind of defined who I was and for that matter still defines who I am to this day.

This is a "thought bubble". It is an...

My study of can’t started innocently enough one evening while I was out on a walk.  As I strolled through the warm spring evening, listening to the frogs croaking and birds chirping I started thinking about the all the thing I can’t do.

The list of things I can’t do is much longer in than the list of things I can do.  There are plenty of thing I can’t do, like write an award winning book, I can’t dance, I can’t sing, I can’t be the husband my wife deserves, and I can’t be the father my daughter deserves.  I must admit, my study of this word left me feeling rather melancholy and on the verge of seriously reconsidering what I think about while out on walks.  Maybe I should start following baseball or something.

At the turnaround point in my walk, I was downtrodden, focusing only on the things in my life I can’t do when a momentary flash of brilliant light filled my eyes.  I’d like to believe that it was a sign from God telling me that all will work out in my life, but it turned out it was a delivery truck driver playing with his high beams.  That momentary blinding light forced me to look at the word can’t in an entirely different way.

If we look at the word, I mean really look at the word something becomes apparent.

Here take a quick look at the word in all it’s splendid glory….


It’s a very simple word.  Four letters and an apostrophe.  I bet you’re all thinking yeah so what four letters and an apostrophe who cares.  Now take a look at the word again, however this time really stare at it, look deep into to the word’s meaning and letters.  Look at it like two young lovers stare at each other when sharing a milkshake with two straws.


Now do you see what I see?  Of course you do, it’s the word can’t.  When we really look at the word and begin to dissect it the beauty of what this words means in our lives becomes revealed.  Read the first four letters, C-A-N..  Can is a nice enough word positive in attitude.  You can do it. and all that jazz.

It’s when you add that t the whole thing changes into a negative word implying a weakness or inability to do something or does it?  Hmmm you ask yourself where are you going with this.

Look at the t, now really look at it.  Does it remind you of something.  You see a lowercase t looks an awful like like a cross.  I know you could pick a font where it doesn’t but for the sake of this post it does.

Now if we see the words as I see the word the entire meaning changes.  See the word can’t as an opportunity for can, with the help of Christ, don’t view the t as a negative thing preventing you from doing what you want to do, but rather as a call to prayer.  A reminder that you need the help of God to live you life to the fullest.

All those can’t s in your life will slowly become cans through prayer and the help of God.  You see, alone I can’t be the husband my wife deserves, but with the help of God I can.  I can’t be the father my daughter deserves, I can.  I still can’t sing or dance, but with the help of God, well the jury is still out on this one, but you see my point.

Look at your own life for all those instances where you think you can’t and ask for God’s help.  You will soon find yourself accomplishing things that you have told yourself for years that you can’t.

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