You know those sayings you’ve heard your whole life, like “A stich in time saves nine” and “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”? As I look back over a lifetime, I realize how relatable some of those archaic sayings have been to my life.
Faith will move mountains
I remember as a child hearing the phrase “Faith will move mountains” told to me by my parents, usually when I was uncertain of a decision I had made. At the time, I thought, “hmm … what?” But I came to rely on that phrase many times in my lifetime when facing many of the untenable life situations that we all face sooner or later. “Faith will move mountains,” I told myself, usually followed closely behind by “This, too, shall pass.” These gentle reminders to rely on my faith helped me through some of the most difficult times of my life.
These relatable expressions form a common bond among many English speakers. So many of these commons phrases seem to have been invented to remind us of our connectedness as we experience the highs and lows, as well as the mundanities, of our lives. Utter one of these phrases and everyone knows what you are talking about, a collective, unspoken “Ohhh, I get it!”
Always give with a glad heart
When my kids were younger I’d remind them to “Always give with a glad heart.” Always be mindful of your own thoughts and feelings when you think about giving, I told them, because giving affects both the giver and the receiver of the gift. When someone gives with an expectation of getting something in return, I explained to them, it can make them unhappy if the favor is not returned. My kids, now long grown, have told me this phrase has often helped guide them. Many times, they told me, they wanted to give even when it pained them a bit to know they may never get the money or item returned. They said asking themselves first, ”Can I give this with a glad heart?” the answer would be clear, even if the answer was “no.” But if the answer was yes, they could give and let it go, move on and be happy with their decision.
You have to eat a pound of dirt
When my friend’s mother would tell my friend to wash her hands right away when she came in the house, her grandmother would admonish her mother, saying, “You have to eat a pound of dirt before you die!” I am amazed at how almost prophetic this one sounds, with all the news lately about the microbiome and ingesting certain healthy bacteria. And with book titles popular these days, such as
- “Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child from an Oversanitized World (Drs. B Brett Finlay and Marie-Claire Arrieta,’
- ‘Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System (Jack Gilbert and Rob Knight),’
- ‘Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It’ (Dr. Josh Axe)
Maybe Grandmother really did know best.
Better to have loved and lost
Thinking of the phrase that it is “Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all” brings back so many memories of loved ones who are no longer in my life. When I was young, I though the pain of losing someone or something so dear was too much to bear. But I realize now, and looking back, that the pain of loss is a small price to pay for the love received from so many throughout my life. It truly is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Well, is any phrase more appropriate than “A picture is worth a thousand words?” I spent years learning via the laborious task of reading through seemingly endless text-filled books. Today, I can click on YouTube and learn almost anything I want in about 5 or 10 minutes by watching a “moving pictures” video. I so admire these creative YouTubers and the knowledge they bring to all of us! And, yes, their pictures are worth at least a thousand words.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
I was going to add a few more sayings, but then I thought, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
Want to find out the meaning behind your favorite sayings? Check out The Phrase Finder.
Do you have any favorite sayings? Share them with us in the comments!