I’ve never before officially participated in the #onelittleword challenge. There have been many times when I’ve set an intention for a specific period of time – whether a day, a week, a liturgical season…but not officially for the whole year.
Recently, though, one of my Sacred Sisters posted something about it on facebook. We were semi-serious, as it was a stressful time and we were managing to laugh at the stress.
Then, I got to thinking. I like this #OneLittleWord idea. I’ve never been much for New Year’s Resolutions, but one word to sum up intentions for the year – I like it. So, what’s my word?
What started as a joke actually has, after quite a bit of thought, become my word for 2017: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Seriously. This one not-so-little word pretty much sums up my intentions for 2017. Before you click away from this page thinking I’m making fun of #onelittleword, I assure you I’m not. Let me explain: The word is an antidote. (If I’m making fun of anything, I’m making fun of myself.)
It was made popular in the movie Mary Poppins. This children’s classic (starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke) was groundbreaking for its time with its use of animated sequences and live actors in the same scenes. Mary Poppins had just won a horse race, and she’s asked for her response. There’s a word to sum it up, she says, and they break into song: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! An amazing word to sum up an amazing feeling.
I want amazing – in 2017 and beyond. I want childlike awe, joy. I want to dance and laugh about the good things in life, whether big or small – because there are always good things. There are many negative things in the world, but there are always good things in God’s creation. I am realizing that the word is also a sort of shield for me. The littlest things can be good, joyful, worth laughing about.
One day recently, a group of our Sacred Sisters met, prayed, and burned what we wanted to release from our lives. We sang together, and shared our words for the coming year. I suddenly realized that I’d been thinking that I SHOULD have a sensible, serious word for the year – I don’t want anyone thinking I’m poking fun at the idea! But once again, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious danced in my brain, and I realized… it is my antidote for should.
You see, SHOULD is not the voice of conscience for me; rather, it is a hoax, a pretender, a thief. It is sly, masquerading itself as good when it is, in truth, an attempt to derail my true self.
In prayer, I have asked that Divine Guidance use different terminology when nudging me to act or not act. The results have been interesting. My soul whispers “you might want to….” or “consider this…” I listen, I pray, I consider, and often act. However, if I hear “you SHOULD…” I take a very careful look at the suggestion, for should negates free choice. Should is coming from somewhere other than Divine Guidance.
I didn’t realize this particular characteristic of being an antidote of my chosen word until we stood at the fire pit and shared our words and how they came to us.
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. The word itself is nonsensical, meaning (according to various dictionaries) “fantastic,” “awesome,” “something totally indescribable” or simply “the longest word you can come up with.” Wikipedia (as well as a few other sites) break it down into roots, and come up with something along the lines of “atoning for educability through delicate beauty,” which to me sounds like something found on a poorly-translated fortune cookie.
Songwriters Robert and Richard Sherman have described the word as similar to one from their youth, and that the final form of the word as we know it came from their actual songwriting process. Ah!!
So my “one not-so-little-word” for 2017 began life as a nonsense word, which was finalized in the craft of songwriting. Through the magic of creativity, it took on a life of its own. As a magical word, it becomes my shield. It connects me to childlike wonder and reminds me to slow down to see the beauty in the world. It reminds me that I don’t need to take myself so seriously. It reminds me to act out of love rather than out of rigid duty. It slays the shoulds.
The other day, after sharing my word (and reasons for it), we all broke into song:
even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious
If you say it loud enough you’ll always sound precocious,
…at which point, Patti and I started dancing and continuing with “dum diddle diddle ay dum diddle ar, dum diddle diddle ay dum diddle ar…”
I’m reminded that God has a sense of humor, and that yes, we are made in God’s image.
Here’s wishing you a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious year.