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A word for something that doesn’t exist

My daughter asked me the other day whether ghosts exist. I told her that I haven’t seen any.

She asked “Why do we have a word for something that doesn’t exist?”

That question got me thinking.

We have words for things that we don’t love or hate, for what we don’t want to become, for the unknown, the infinite, and the eternal. We couldn’t live in a world of words that only express what is here, what’s palpable, what exists in our little universe. That would kill our imagination and creativity.

Sometimes the hardest job is finding the vocabulary and the story about what’s not here yet.

It’s not clear in our mind – it’s part of an unfinished conversation, a line we haven’t crossed yet, unexplored territory.

Finding the words and the story for what is as yet unspoken is the first step to making it visible and real. Don’t take it for granted. These first words knock down the walls of our little universe of certainties. Even if they are not yet here, precise, round and complete, welcome them, as they are the first step into a new land.



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