Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lent Photo a Day: Place

“Place” is a pretty generic word, as words go. It means, simply, a location. A spot. A well-defined set of geographic coordinates. SomePLACE. AnyPLACE.

But if you add a possessive in front of it – your place, my place, his place, our place – it suddenly takes on a much different meaning, a meaning laden with values and implications and layers. To “put someone in his place” means to knock him down a peg. To deflate his ego. To humble him. To remind him that he’s not nearly as important as he thinks he is. Keeping someone “in his place” implies that person’s inferiority. “His place,” in this context, is a place of humility, subservience, frustration, and lowliness.

But adding a possessive to the word “place” can also imply exactly the opposite: To “find your place in the world” means to come into your own, to discover where you fit into the greater scheme of things, to reach your potential. It implies success, accomplishment, belonging, completion.

There’s yet another positive implication to some possessive uses of the word “place”: when “my place” refers to your home. “Come on over to my place.” “Welcome to my place.” “Check out my place!” The implications here are a sense of personal pride, a degree of territorialism, a sense of possessiveness in its most positive form. “My place” implies hospitality, welcome, comfort, and graciousness.

The hallmarks of my own personal “place” involve hospitality and comfort. My place is full of comfortable chairs, candlelight, flowers, classical music, good food and drink, and the laughter (and often the mess) of children. My place is often full of friends. It is always full of the love of family. My place is a haven from sorrow and a venue of joy. My place is full of memories. My place is full of potential. My place is full of cheerfulness. My place is full.


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