Can I have a word? - October 14th, 2018
There is a Julia Roberts film called Eat Pray Love. The character she plays discusses with a group of friends a simple question: what is the one word that describes you best? It’s not as easy as you might think. You might choose several words. But think about it. What is it that fires you most? In the end Julia Roberts’ character chooses an Italian word attraversiamo which means Let’s cross over. It has the sense of holding someone’s hand, coming to terms with things and without dithering, coming to a decision about what your life is about.
What word would you choose? It might describe your age: old, young, middle-aged. It might describe your personality: bubbly, outgoing, energetic, reserved. It might define your outlook on life: adventurous, cautious. Or you might want it to define something you are passionate about that runs through the roles you undertake or the work that you do. What is the one passion, principle or role that really defines you as a person?
Now you may think I have gone a little bit off piste this week, but it’s not as daft as it sounds. I have been reading that incident where a stranger comes to Jesus and he asks him what he had to do to inherit eternal life. Now that is off piste. Nobody has ever asked me that question! It ends up with Jesus telling the man to go away and sell all that he has and give it to the poor. Why? Because Jesus recognizes that the one thing that defines this man’s life is money. He is a rich man. What’s his word? Wealthy. That’s where he puts all his real trust and energy. And so Jesus asks him to follow him and to redefine what his life is about.
Whatever word you choose, it makes you wonder what Jesus would make of it.
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Lord, I was just wondering whether there is an Italian word for outrageous love. If there is, it might be one you might want to use yourself. Amen.