The other day SK told me about her university choir retreat she'd participated in Sunday. At one point in the afternoon, the choristers were divided into 'Home Groups', as the group within the group whom they would share with more personally. She obviously goes to a Christian University, where even in academic or artistic settings, professors are concerned about emotional and spiritual well-being, not just (in this case) musical ability and corporate sound. Every time she turns around, she's a part of another group who want to get to know her, be community with her. And she's bouncing with it. But then, SK's always been the one alight with joy in our family. She came to love life, I've always said, and to help the rest of us enjoy it with her.
So in this 'home group' on Sunday, each student introduced themselves. Typical for these kinds of groups. I've been in community groups where it took the entire year, practically, for everyone to have their chance to tell their own stories. Being a story-teller myself, I love that kind of thing, love hearing who people are, what they believe about themselves, their past, how it plays into who they are becoming in Christ. But often those introductions are short, and pointed. SK and her cronies were given specific questions to answer to help facilitate their introductions. I've played these games before--too many times to recount here. 'Something people in the group would be surprised to learn about you,' is one favorite query, or 'tell your most embarrassing moment' (my 'most' is not something I would ever share on first meetings, to tell the truth. It's just too dang embarrassing. Fortunately, I have a whole storehouse of embarrassing moments to choose from. I'm just that clutzy...and given to speaking without thinking, as well).
What SK's choir was asked was, "Tell about your best thing ever!"
"Wow," I said. "That's pretty general." Not to mention, pretty hard for someone like SK, for whom everything from a new pair of shoes to Cold Stone icecream could be the 'best ever!' She tends to abound with superlatives, one way or another. She agreed that it was very difficult, but she finally decided to talk about two different places in the world that have had a certain quality for her--a sense of how beautiful, how perfect, how diverse God's creation is. One is at the Mission in Uruapan, Mexico where she's gone four different summers. Sitting on the rocks overlooking the valley, especially at sunset, floods her with a sense of rightness, joy and peace. The other is in the steep canyons above the Snake River where my brother-in-law's cattle graze for most of the year. Those canyons are only accessible on horseback, and SK (and E) have spent many days riding with their cousins, either helping round up cattle, or simply enjoying the part of the world few humans ever see.
What would it be for me? My best thing ever, that is. If I eliminate talking about the Lord, Beve or my children, which go without saying and aren't 'things', anyway, what would I say? I decided one thing was too hard, so made list. I think I did this once in grad school for a class called, "Christian Imagination."
Anyway, here's a list off the top of my head:
A well-written sentence (I mean, sprung from my own imagination)
A stack of books by my bed
The smell of fresh mowed grass
A new journal
Tea and scones
The ringtones on my cell-phone (songs sung by my daughters)
The sound of Beve's pick-up in the driveway (this is actually the dogs' ONE best thing ever)
Baths (especially now in our new tub!)
The Word of God--
The Word of God. Ultimately, it really is my best thing ever. In fact, to tell the truth, sometimes I wonder about heaven. I mean, will we still need the Bible when we see Him face to face? Probably not. And oddly, this sometimes makes me a little sad. I know, I know, I won't care then, but for now, this is how I best know the One whom I love. I measure my life against it, open myself up to be changed by it every single day. I love the physical feel of a Bible in my hands--the smell of brand new leather when I get a new one, the crinkle of the thin, silver or gold edged pages, the weight of the Words I will discover, but also love how my oldest, worn-in, taped together Bible, how I can find a verse I'm looking for because I know where it sits on a page, how those shiny pages have been worn dull and the leather made pliable because my hands have opened it so often. But I mostly love how even passages I've read a thousand times before can feel fresh and new when He reveals Himself to me through them. How by His Spirit something springs off the page I hadn't understood. How these truths convict, work in, mold me. How they light my life. Every day.
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." Psalm 119:105