Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Modest Letter Q



Once I was sitting in my car, filling in time while my young son was at a birthday party by reading a book. I noticed that the letter Q was typed in a font I'm not familiar with. It had an odd tail squiggle that ended in a little flourish. Having noticed it once, these quirky Qs started leaping out at me from every second or third page. They were hidden in words such as equivalent, quiet, quilt, question, cheque, equal, quite, require, inadequacy, consequences, square and quality. As I had time on my hands, I grabbed my pen and note pad to jot down the words I caught them in.

It surprised me that day that Q is actually such a well-used letter. I would've assumed it was one of the rare, dispensable ones we don't need very often. We groan when we pick up Qs for our Scrabble palettes, because we fear we'll be stuck with them. But to my amusement, I saw that Q is far more versatile and necessary than I'd ever thought. Imagine if those who make the rules decided we need only 25 letters in our alphabet instead of 26, and we had to boot one out. The Q might have been a big contender in my opinion. But if we dispensed with it, thinking that M, T, S, N, C and all the vowels are more important, I could see that we'd soon miss it and regret our low opinion.

That started me relating to the letter Q in a more personal way. As someone who reads, writes and blogs, in moments of discouragement I'd think of myself as a more redundant person whose function isn't as important as those of others. I felt surrounded by the types of people who could be seen more like a D, T, S or N, P, M. Doctors, teachers, social workers, nurses, pastors and missionaries, you know, the vital difference makers. They add practical, positive input to people's lives. Somehow, I'd got the impression from people's luke-warm reactions as well as the solitude of my own craft that I was far more dispensable. But the letter Q shows me that's not true.

We Qs are quite unique. We might be writers, reviewers, artists, dancers, poets, thinkers, reflectors, and general noticers of what others might miss. Our role is more low key, but really vital. Some Qs are more arty and creative than others, but we all add spice to the world in our own ways. We might write material that works on people's heartstrings to amuse and inspire. We might draw deserved attention to what others have written or created. We might encourage people through the powerful medium of stories or images. We offer others valuable reasons to take a break from their everyday lives and bless them at the same time. We may provide the sort of uplift that could be over in a flash but adds flavor and optimism to someone's whole day. We are encouragers, story-tellers and purveyers of beauty. We don't necessarily earn congratulations or thumbs up, and people may gloss over what we do and move on. But if we stopped, I'm sure the world would notice and want us back, because we'd take lots of colour with us.

Our quirkiness and quixotic qualities gives the world a unique burst of fragrance. There are a few Qs in that sentence. Are you a Q too, or do you know somebody who is? We should remember to affirm them when we think about it. 

6 comments:

  1. Love your thoughtful, quirky posts Paula! I appreciate you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, thanks Carolyn 😄 Ditto, and thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  2. I love that Q is the word unique. Very appropriate. I'm super impressed with all the Q words you came up with. Love it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rose, it is a unique letter 😄 I was impressed with all the words that contain it hidden and not at the start.

      Delete
  3. ZOMG what a post!! So beautifully written, well done ❤️ I'm thinking now about how Q so often appears alongside its best buddy, U - the overlooked spinster aunt of the vowels (in my head, anyway) who actually does a lot of the heavy lifting and support for the family. To me, that says that Qs don't have to go through life alone and unnoticed, there will (almost) always be someone who loves them by their side ❤️

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, absolutely! A shout-out to those loyal, supportive U's of the world, who are content to be un-self-seeking and agenda free. They really are great to have around.

      Delete