Reading today from Joan Chittister’s The Rule of Benedict, she caught my attention in her urging to listen not only for the voice of God but also to “listen to one another, to sit silently in the presence of God, to give sober heed, and to ponder….”
It is that last word, “ponder,” that caught my attention. “Ponder” is a favorite word of mine, but it is one that seems out of favor. I come up to the verge of it with some regularity and almost always choose another even though “ponder” is likely the more appropriate word. I think I pull back on using “ponder” because it seems to be one extreme or the other. That is, it either sounds to me like something that Jed Clampett would say on The Beverly Hillbillies Something he would be before going to the “cement pond” or eating “vittles.”, or it brings up the mental image of the gravitas of Rodin’s statue – The Thinker.
I should, however, follow Chittister’s lead and not give up on “ponder” as a respectable word. Webster provides the following in the definition of “ponder” – to “weigh in the mind,” to “think about,” or to “reflect on.” Those are, of course, good things to do, particularly before making decisions and opening one’s mouth to speak. In fact, that may well be a one word solution for much that is wrong in the world right now – ponder. Or perhaps two words. First, ponder!