Words That Matter


What does "dwelling" mean? Clearly it refers to specific kinds of buildings, "residential" usually. But what does it mean for me to dwell? I don't dwell just anywhere, after all, although people talk about "living" at work. They usually mean it negatively - their work requires them to be there far longer than they think is necessary, and their real dwelling is somewhere else, somewhere they'd rather be.

We dwell metaphorically, too. We "
dwell on" something when we think about it, focus on it, are "caught up" with it. It is more than intense concentration, though. It has an emotional connotation. If someone says "Don't dwell on the past", we mean something like "Don't get caught up emotionally in the past". Let it go. Live - dwell - now, invest yourself in now. Don't be stuck in the past.

Our hearts are restless, until they find rest in Thee.


Augustine's statement about the home of our hearts is certainly a religious one, but is also a statement of dwelling. It may be that we dwell only when we find rest.

What else is involved in "dwelling"?