My favorite word?

October 23, 2009

I’m currently in the middle of registering for something online.  I know, this post probably should be about the dangers of identity theft, but it’s not.  So, I get to the password section and type in my usual, and then scroll down to the security question.  I was expecting “What’s your mother’s maiden name?” or “What’s your father’s middle name?”  or even “What’s the name of your first pet or significant other (apparently the same for some people…)?”  Nope.  None of the usual.  The security question is, you guessed it, “What’s your favorite word?”

My favorite word?

This security question is guaranteed to even keep me out of my own account.

First of all, at least for me, my favorites change semi-rapidly.  Two weeks ago, my favorite ice cream was chocolate peanut butter, but then I was introduced to Ben and Jerry’s “Chunky Monkey.”  And as I ate that, I was remembering other Ben and Jerry’s flavors, and then Blue Bunny flavors (Twins Graham Slam), and Cold Stone’s cheesecake ice cream and DQ’s oreo cheesecake blizzard.. and oh, I digress.  But choosing favorites is already complicated with ice cream.   Plus, I am 25 and still don’t really know what my favorite color is, much less if I prefer rain to sun to snow…

Secondly, there are so many dimensions to that question.  I mean, what criteria would you use to choose a favorite word?  How it sounds when you say it?  Like the word “lollapalooza,” for example.  That sounds like so much fun to say.  But I couldn’t use it cause I don’t think I’ve ever used it before now and would therefore NEVER remember it.  Then there are words that produce certain memories, like names of people and places and such.  And then there are words that when you hear them, make you feel happy.  Like “sunshine” or “sparklers.”  (See, didn’t you at least feel happy just thinking of sparklers?  Unless, you’re one of those who had a far-too sparkling experience… in your case, maybe change the word to sprinklers…?)  And finally, there are those serious words with meaning, such as “love” and “forgiveness.”  And then, if you choose one of these, which form of the word do you use?  The noun?  the verb?  the adjective?  And which tense?

So, if I were you, I’d begin pondering this now.  Have it ready.  Cause it’s definitely gonna take me the rest of the afternoon…


My Favorite Day

October 12, 2009

When I was a little kid, I did what all little kids do–you know, complained about not being able to fall asleep when in reality all I really wanted was just to be told Icould stay up late.  My mom never fell for it.  Instead, she told me to imagine my favorite day.  Being slightly belligerent, I said, “But I don’t have any favorite days.”  To which my mom told me the most wonderful thing ever.  She said it didn’t have to be real.  Some may claim that I have been living in an imaginary world from that point on.

But at the age of 10, here’s what my imagination came up with:

1.  The day would be extendable–not limited to 24 hours, but if, by some terrible mistake,  something went horribly wrong, I could end the day at any time.

2. I would be pretty without trying or caring.

3.  I’d play in a Hallie league softball game where I would get a hit nearly every at bat–showing up all my coaches who thought less of me.  Now, you may be wondering if I could choose, why I wouldn’t hit a home run every at bat.  You see, that’s TOO perfect.  Too perfect that it’s in fact, quite boring.  So, I would get an infield single (yes, I know, quite the stretch of the imagination.),  a nice liner somewhere–maybe a single or double, a walk, a painless HBP (that of course appeared painful, so I would limp to first, the applause following every heroic step). Anyway, you get the idea.  In addition to a stellar performance at the plate, I would also throw out someone trying to steal and perfectly field a bunt.  Ahhh… it was a great game.

2.  Depending upon my awake status, the day would continue with Chuck Knoblauch (yes, I had an 10-year old crush on a Twin…hmmm… sensing some themes in my life.  Anyway, I wrote him a letter.  It was serious.) watching the game and realizing my amazing skills.  He would tell the coach–Tom Kelly–and before I knew it, I was signed by the Twins.

3.  There would be absolutely no fights with friends, and the friends that were mean to me in 5th grade–you know who you are–were entirely jealous of my “Little Big League”/”Rookie of the Year” life.

4.  I would eat ice cream and pizza for every meal and not feel sick.

5.  It would be sunny, but then a little rainy so I could tap dance with Gene Kelly… but then sunny again.

6. I could go swimming and turn 12 somersaults to finally beat Erin’s record of 11.

7.  And the characters in the “Indian in the Cupboard” books would be real.

Recently, in stark contrast to my 10-year-old imagination,  I realized that for the first time in my life, I kind of want a normal life.  I want an actual job in my profession.  I want to settle down. Maybe not for life, or for more than 2 years, but for more than 3-6 months–the maximum amount of time I’ve been anywhere in the past few years.  I know this is crazy talk, but I’m feeling worn out.  But, here is God setting up another short-term volunteer trip to Cambodia.  And I believe with all my heart he’s behind this, and I know that once I get there it will be great, but I’d be lying if I said that I’m entirely gung-ho about it.

So, I started remembering my favorite imaginary days, and I realized that everything in my those days had something in common.  Everything in it seemed to immediately benefit me, and just me.  I thought about my life–and how what I want is to have everyone validate me and to have things work out for me.  And then I realized what a different thing Jesus calls us to.  To live beyond ourselves, which if we actually believe all of what He says, should be less of a struggle.  I long for this to be much more natural than in me–to wake up in the morning and be automatically concerned with others’ happiness before my own. To jump excitedly on a plane to Cambodia or wherever and not worry about the life–of which I am entirely too possessive–that I’m leaving behind.

And maybe even someday, to imagine my favorite day and think of others doing wonderful things and not just me.