Brene Brown states vulnerability is “uncertain, risk, emotional exposure.” Vulnerability feels like you’re taking off the mask and hoping the real me isn’t too disappointing. Yup that’s true. It’s my birthday. I’m 49 – almost 50! And I’m learning to laugh at myself. Turns out my friends are also enjoying my quirky flaws too. Over the years my friends have kept a running list of my malapropism inside the door my one of my kitchen cabinets.
Some of you may not know what a malapropism is – it’s the use of an incorrect word in place of a word with a similar sound, resulting in a nonsensical, often humorous utterance. So here I am being vulnerable – I’m a preacher, writer and speaker and I FLUB MY WORDS. I MAKE UP WORDS. I MISUSE WORDS IN A SENTENCE. And if I’m honest, I don’t want you to know this about me because you might think I’m stupid. That’s being vulnerable isn’t it? When I’m vulnerable around those I don’t trust I tend to try to cover up my exposure. Like I’d like to say to you – did you know that D.L. Moody, the 19th century evangelist, also flubbed his words? See it’s not a sign of stupidity.
Last night a few of my friends gathered to celebrate my birthday. I made my brother’s spaghetti sauce, the best by the way, and others brought salad, wine, bread, and dessert. Steve asked the question, “What has surprised you? You are at this age and you find yourself surprised by …?” The answers were interesting:
– that joy is in the ordinary not extraordinary things
– that things didn’t turn out at all like I had expected
– that age is better than youth
– that being connected to others is what life is about
Towards the end of the evening, just before chocolate cake, I was ordered to my room – they had a surprise in the works! Outside my bedroom door I could hear lots of rustling and giggling. What are they up to? When I came out of the room there they all were wearing salmon colored t-shirts and on the back? A list of some of my malapropism! Amy was kind enough to leave off some of my more embarrassing ones like when I was in a pastoral staff meeting and said, We need to get Andy (the Senior Pastor) a vibrator! UGH, I meant a pager- Flubbing words can be embarrassing! But some are just downright funny. Like when I said to my son Hunter, We need to go to Target and get some windmills. Without missing a beat – he’s used to translating my words- he said, You mean a fan?
Yup. That’s what I meant.
What I love about aging is I’ve come to relax more in myself, I find joy in the ordinary, and I am grateful for friends around the table (friends whom when I take off my mask and expose the real me – I find they aren’t all that disappointed).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
More and more I understand Solomon’s wisdom when he said, “There is nothing better than to enjoy good food and drink (meaning fellowship around the table) and to find satisfaction in work.” (Ecclesiastes 2:24)