I just watched “Eat, Pray, Love” with Vicki last night and I’m searching for my “word”.
“Eat, Pray, Love” is the story of Elizabeth Gilbert who searches for meaning of life after a terrible divorce. She goes to Italy to learn how to enjoy life, to India to search for the meaning of life, and Indonesia for balance and love again. She’s a writer and so she gets to go to these places and write about them for her living- as opposed to the rest of us who get to search for these things in our own backyard. There are some issues I have with the book and the movie- not the least was her realization that God is within us, but not taking the next step to realize that such peace, prayer, and pleasure is within oneself all the time- sortof a spiritual Wizard of Oz. But that quibble aside, it’s a thoughtful, interesting book, and a lush, gorgeous movie. In the craziness that is my life, I enjoy taking a peek into someone else’s life every now and then…
There was a game that Liz played during her trip of distilling the essence of a person or a place down to one word. She described New York’s word as being “achieve”, Los Angeles’ as “success”- similar to, and yet different from New York’s- Stockhold as “conform”, and Rome as “sex”.
She did the same with people- her sweetheart was “antevasin“, one who lives at the border, and she decides that her word was “attraversiamo“-“Let’s cross over”. (Yes, I know that in the book, she was both, but I’m not nitpicking here).
I have always loved word games like this. When James and I were dating, we often read to each other from a series of books called “If”… If you had to name three books you would take with you on a deserted island, what would they be?… If you could talk to one person from your past, who would it be and what would you ask?…? They’re fun and interesting. Perhaps it’s the dual nature of these types of questions that I like- at once shallow and thoughtful, light and yet insightful. And so I’ve been thinking about it…
My word is Venn– as in Venn diagram. I played with “connection” or “bridger”, but my gift, my skill, my interests, lie in finding the areas of connection, of lapover, of teasing out how are things similar, yet different. How is autism like/unlike giftedness? How is parenting like/unlike teaching? How are the joys and sorrows of living dangerously close to the drama of bipolar? When do talents become impairments- and impairments, talents? How is the spiritual manifested in our world? How is our culture embedded in our myths? How much connection is there between work and life, heart and mind, spirit and body? I live with labels- and how much overlap, similarities, and usefulness do these labels have? Yup- my word is Venn.
That one word captures most of me- but not all of me. It is a trivial game that provokes thought. I asked Ray last night as I was putting him to bed what his word is, and he thought seriously for a moment, and said “I don’t know- it’s not “soldier” (he was playing with his green army men), or “son”. It’s more than that. Maybe, “word”?” And then, he was off to another topic, his ADHD kicking in and there was no going back.
I’m fascinated by these glimpses into his mind every now and then… are words so important to him? Did he mean “Word”, as in “listen up”? Or was it a random neurological echolalia? I’ll ask him again later… and Elizabeth, and James all of those people whose hearts and minds I’m constantly discovering and relearning.
What’s YOUR word?