Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What's In a Word?

Well over a year ago, I found myself in a dark theater with a friend (although I am at a loss to recall exactly WHICH friend) watching the movie Eat, Pray, Love. Only one part of the movie managed to survive in my head past the Exit doors. The main character, Elizabeth (played by Julia Roberts), is enjoying a meal with newfound friends at a restaurant in Italy. As they sit around the table, savoring Italian cuisine, one of them poses the question, "What's your word?" suggesting that everybody has one word that basically defines them.

When it is Elizabeth's turn to share, she shrugs her shoulders and suggests that "writer" might be her word. She is immediately shut down, being told that "writer" is what she DOES not what she IS.

So I asked myself, What is MY word? It didn't take long. My word is practical--it serves me as both a blessing AND a curse in nearly every aspect of my life. My practicality keeps me grounded. It keeps me from being on the extreme end of many debates, fashions, and movements. It often parades as Common Sense, even though I would like to shake it off at times. I can't. It is a part of me. It is me. I AM practical.

Practicality hasn't won me any Best Dressed Awards or made my home a candidate for Better Homes & Gardens. It means that my hair is very rarely (read: never) perfectly coifed. Sometimes I wear my running shoes to run errands. I have very few pieces of furniture that were purchased new. I drive old cars because I just can't see the sense in spending money on new ones. I recycle. In fact, I have a drawer filled with sheets of paper that all still have one perfectly good side. I wear a lot of jeans and t-shirts. I might be better suited to farm life than suburban life.

Truthfully, there are times I wish my hair was more prone to perfect coifing or my home had a better-home-&-garden look. I enjoy having beautiful things around me, and I occasionally want to splurge on some new furniture or decor.

So, where has this practicality gotten me?

Tonight I was thinking back to a conversation I had with a friend of mine some time ago. She was going through a particularly dark period of her life and was having a dreadful time falling asleep each night. One night as we were out walking, she confided in me that sometimes when she needs to fall asleep at night, she thinks of me. She insisted that it wasn't my dull company that helped to lull her to sleep, but rather my comfortable way of being. Thinking of me helped her to feel calm. I decided to take that as a compliment. Further, I wonder if perhaps my im-perfect way of being sometimes helps others feel perfectly comfortable (and hopefully safe) with me.

So now the question is...

What's YOUR word?