The other day I came to this strange re-alization that there are a lot of re-ally important words that start with “re”. It all hit me when I was thinking about the word re-spect. For some re-ason I was re-peating the word over and over in my head, and it simply got to the point where it sounded like gibberish. Naturally I continued re-peating the funny word until I kind of just got stuck on “spect” … re-spect, in-spect, per-spect-ive, spect-rum, intro-spect-ive, spect-acular. What in the world is spect anyway? Then it finally clicked … spectacles! Specting is all about seeing.
Once I finally had a chance to check with Google, I confirmed my suspicion that the etymology of re-spect is “re” (back) “specere” (look at). Re-specting someone literally means that you are seeing them again. I’ve always thought that re-spect was simply about admiration, but by re-specting re-spect my understanding of the word has been completely transformed. In order to truly re-spect someone, you have to have the courage to admit that maybe the way you first saw them was wrong. By re-specting a person, you are expressing vulnerability and humility in your willingness to see that person again in a different light. In a similar line of thought, re-cognizing is all about re-cognizing. You are literally re-shaping preexisting thoughts about someone or something. Mind blown.
I haven’t been re-flecting on “re” words for more than a few days, but it is staggering to me how many important ones there are … re-concile (bring back together), re-joice (experience joy again), re-vive (live again), re-late (bring back again). It’s pretty re-markable actually.
If living a meaningful life was as simple as checking items off of a bucket list, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have so many impactful “re” words. Meaning isn’t something that we find. Meaning is something we find AGAIN. The best things in life are those that are worth going back to and seeing for the first time. Respect.