I really love to study words. Properly selected words fitly spoken can calm a troubled soul and reach deeper than any physical help we can give at times. I suppose, since I’m also a King James Bible lover, the “Old English” or sometimes called “The King’s English” really stirs my heart. When I saw the word “winsome” I just had to write about it today!
The word “winsome” means having an appealing or attractive appearance or character. This word hit it’s peak in use around the turn of the 20th century in 1900 and had a steady decline thereafter. Lately the word seems to be gaining a little steam, but certainly no where near it’s 1900 hay day. Perhaps the “vintage” and “nostalgia” movements gave the word a little juice as of late. Google is such an amazing tool, I’m not sure how on earth I was raised without it. 😉
Merriam-Webster says of winsome: generally pleasing and engaging often because of a childlike charm and innocence. This got me thinking, perhaps the word was used most in 1900 because our nation as a whole was in it’s childhood seeing the world from a new perspective. We were no longer “rebel colonies” but a force to be reckoned with in a new and advancing world of technology.
Are things really so different now? Our nation is older and we have our problems but we still have some winsome attributes. One of which is our inability to stop improving. In the 1900’s Henry Ford was revolutionizing the way we travel despite a lack of paved roads. He was determined to see a horseless carriage improve lives nationwide. Now we have the revolutionary Elon Musk determined to make electrical cars a reality. He faces the problem of lack of charging stations instead of roads but like Ford, he is determined to impact the future to improve the lives of those that will come after him.
Another winsome characteristic we still possess as a nation is our gift of charity. Americans give not only their finances, but also their time. We may not agree on how to give as a nation whether it be through the government arm or through local non profit and churches, but most Americans do agree to be a giver in some aspect of life. Everyone likes to be around a cheerful giver!
Political unrest? You bet, we have it just like they did in 1900, Americans are torn over the current President and in 1900 conspiracy and assassination attempts also reigned. Faces, names, and countries have changed but the same old games are still at play world wide. It’s amazing how we can study history and still repeat much of it. Here is a little article comparing 1900 to now, hope you also enjoy it. http://www.genealogy.com/articles/research/76_life1900.html
The biggest difference I feel between the days of using the winsome and our current day is attitudes and the general lack of church. I feel like in 1900 the American people pursued making the future better not of lack of contentment but rather out of good will towards others. Life in America was still difficult with most travel being done on foot but the people were optimistic and took true enjoyment in small pleasures. Dish washers, clothes washers, air conditioning, and even music were luxury! We now expect all of these things to be easily found in our homes and our attitudes nationally seem to have shifted towards an entitled self willed brat who is more loathsome than winsome. Perhaps as Psalm 106:15 says, “And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” we were given all we ever asked and now our heart, mind, and eyes are so filled with clutter, we lost what was important to our soul. Perhaps this is why hundreds of churches close in America every year and we can not start enough new ones to keep up with population growth. Did America loose it’s winsome attributes when we stopped using the word? Or did we stop using the word because we no longer wanted to be winsome?
Let’s have the attitude of gratitude and not allow things we can’t control steal our joy and instead, take our talents and use them to make our little area of influence whether online or in town a better more winsome place to be. It can be a great year in 2018 if we let it.
Well, those are the thoughts I pondered as I meditated on the word, winsome.
Until next time-