Thursday, April 22, 2010
"Good Morning"... "Good Evening"
The above greetings have become ritualized. We say them to each other without thinking about their meaning. In Spanish, there's even a greeting for the afternoon: buenos tardes. What do we mean by these greetings?
I believe the maxim that "words themselves don't have meaning, but people mean things with words." So, the right question is, "What do I mean by saying 'good morning' to someone?"
On the surface, saying "good morning" is to greet someone. But, it can mean more: it can be a way of wishing them well. Further, it can be a way of expressing gratitude and thanksgiving for the goodness of the day.
In High School one of my friends always responded to "good morning" with "what's so good about it?" I have come to love mornings, especially the early morning (although I used to hate getting up early). The glory of a sunrise, the beginning of a new day, the enjoyment of breakfast and reading the newspaper-- these make morning good. Four mornings a week, I get up early to row. Starting the day with vigorous exercise only enhances the enjoyment of a morning.
As for evenings, they are good because they signal the winding down of the day. Watching a sunset is one of life's great gifts. Mornings and evenings frame the rest of the day and night. No wonder Muslims pray at both of these times. These are times for the rest of us to give thanks as well.