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2017-06-23 / Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue

By Brian Miller
HTF Columnist

It was announced recently that Randy Moss will be inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor. Happy for the guy; he’s still my favorite athlete I ever watched as an adult. He’s my age and a fellow West Virginian. I feel connected to him. I just don’t really have the passion to write about sports all that often anymore. It’s a “in the grand scheme of things” issue. I’m sure I’ll write about it down the line, but I’ve got other stuff today.

Beauty from the broken

The Japanese have an art called kintsukuroi (golden repair) or kintsugi (golden joinery). It is the process by which broken pottery is repaired by lacquer mixed with gold, silver or platinum dust. It takes that which was

broken, useless and in disrepair and restores it to functionality. The resultant beauty far surpasses that of the original object.

Having been broken, it is a comforting art. It gives hope that beauty can spring from brokenness; that even when we’ve fallen apart, that that the pieces can be put back together, that there is Someone that can do that. It reminds me of a passage in Job, where the author says, “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”

I don’t know why this subject was in my head today. Perhaps because I know so many who are broken, and maybe this will give them some hope for the future, that such beauty is possible.

Vance Havner said: “God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.”

And in Psalms it says, “He heals the brokenhearted, and bandages their wounds.”

Amen. I’ve been there.

From the mouth of babes

A few months ago, I saw this on a friend’s Facebook wall. I found it fitting: “Out of the blue, (my threeyear old daughter) tells me today that she, and everyone she knows has a heart.

“The mom in me thinks that this is the perfect opportunity for learning, so I ask her if she knows what her heart is for/what it does.

“She looked at me with the most innocent look and said, ‘It’s how people feel love.’

“Almost lost it.” You and me both, my friend.

You and me both.

Making up words

One of my favorite words is saudade. It is a Portuguese term that translates roughly as a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return.

One translation to English would be “missingness,” but that really doesn’t encapsulate it. A great definitition of saudade is by Portuguese writer Manuel de Melo who calls it “a pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy.”

Saudade is something I feel nearly every day, but I’m not going to get into that here. Instead, I want to share some made-up words.

Since 2009, John Koenig, a graphic designer, has been coming up with words to describe the emotions that we all feel, but are unable to communicate. His website is called The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. He describes it as “a compendium of invented words.”

Here are a few of my favorites:

Énouement: (n) The bittersweetness of having arrived in the future, seeing how things turn out, but not being able to tell your past self.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a letter to my past self here. I suppose it sprung from énouement.

Jouska: (n) A hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head.

I am constantly talking to myself in my head, always rehearsing, because I am far better at writing something out in the way I intend it to sound than to say it out loud.

Rubatosis: (n) The unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat.

I rarely have company over, so when I’m sitting alone at night, I often experience this.

Chrysalism: (n) the amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm.

I don’t know about anyone else, but this is one of my favorite feelings. I love to fall asleep during a thunderstorm.

Monachopsis: (n) The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.

I’m rarely a bull in a china shop, but I’m often the odd wheel.

Onism: (n) The frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time.

I now know what my mom meant when she would say “I can’t be in two places at once.” This is not unusual, especially late at night when everybody needs a safe ride home at the same moment.

Ellipsism: (n) A sadness that you’ll never be able to know how history will turn out.

For me, this is kind of like a reverse saudade, if that makes any sense.

Sonder: (n) The realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own.

This is a reminder that one should always help someone if you can, because you may be the only one who does. It’s so easy to dismiss those we don’t know personally, when each and every one of us has intrinsic value.

Mauerbauertraurigkeit: (n) The inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends who you really like.

The longest word on this list, I have my moments of mauerbauertraurigkeit.

Opia: (n) The ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable.

As a (sometimes) shy Finn, I can relate.

Occhiolism: (n) The awareness of the smallness of your perspective. One needs only look at the stars… Until next time…

Brian Miller is a longtime local writer who resides in Eveleth. He welcomes glowing accolades and scathing reviews at

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