Friday, September 30, 2011

I don't hate you, milieu.

A few words have been popping up everywhere around me: in papers, on signs, in my head, spoken by people around me. Strange, really, when just miniscule parts of English vocabulary (miniscule, not meaningless, because the English language is so HUGE) are heard or read so often in just a few days. This got me to thinking about the definition of these words as they relate to the things around me. It's never bad to think. At a play I saw earlier this evening, called Red, about the life and work of well-known painter Mark Rothko, the actor playing the artist said:

"Stop being so pedestrian. Think more."
So, I thought about it.

milieu: surroundings, especially of a social or cultural nature.
My professor used this word in a comment on one of my papers. Right before he suggested I become an urban warrior, he told me "by the way, you've done a great job masking your insecurities, every time I see you, you look like you're in complete command of your milieu." Whether or not this is true, I'm not sure. Maybe he's just being optimistic. It is nice to know I have the ability of covering up my mess of emotions and insecurities in public. At least I have that going for me. And, whether or not I do have complete control of my surroundings, ha, I don't think I really want that kind of responsibility. But, I don't think that's what he meant. I heard the word again at the play and once more from someone I don't know. My milieu is so interesting.

discernment: perspicacity, insight
Whoa. Don't ask me what perspicacity means (well, it probably means discernment). This word came to me by letter, from a friend. A blessed letter, and impressively timely (I think I just lost command of my milieu by using two adverbs). Discernment involves a lot of perspective and reflection about future opportunities and decisions. Most days, we face it involuntarily, but sometimes the concept gets heavier when we start facing change and uncertainty. With the changes (and natural human stress) of God's mysterious (but exciting, right?) plan for each of our lives, we might lose a little gusto and begin to doubt. I am confident the plan will be challenging, enlightening, and worthwhile. I'm praying for you, friend. You know who you are.

romance: sentiment, emotion, or desire
You didn't really think I was going to talk about dating and marriage, did you? Gross. Romance isn't red roses, candles, kisses, passionate desire for the opposite sex...I bet you thought I was going to say something else. No, I'm talking about the real thing. The desire for beauty in life. The stuff that moves the very heart of soul of who you are! I think God's creation is romantic: planting, growing, living. One of the most romantic moments of my life was when I was young and standing in the middle of a wheat field, bright blue above me, a God-made golden blessing beneath me. Alone. I was standing there alone. I didn't need my 4th grade "boyfriend" standing next to me to make it romantic. However, I do wish my fourth grade "boyfriend" the best in life.

futility: lack of effectiveness, success, purpose, meaning
This one's interesting. This week, I wrote a news story about art collaboration. One of the collaborative practicing group of artists was called (f)utility. Ah, the juxtaposition - one of the most profound, meaningful art terms spoken by man. No. But, the word got me thinking about how much we feel futile as human beings. It's not just artists that don't get their art sold, not just writers that never get their work published. The judge within the self. At the end of the day, it's mostly me bringing myself down about all the mistakes I made, stupid things I said, or all of the sidewalk cracks I tripped over (which happens often). But, here's the romantic part...despite the ability to command surroundings or define interesting words in the English language, God loves us, everyone. Tiny Tim was right (well, if he would have said "loves" instead of bless). The same thing, really.


In other news (forgive me), the Blackhawks' Patrick Kane is joining Twitter. This probably has no significance to most of you reading this, but I think it's hilarious. I couldn't stop laughing, and I couldn't tell you why. Maybe it's because I think Twitter is ridiculous, no offense to those of you who have it. It's just another way to write sentiment without having to show it at all...anytime you want, for free. The fact that Kaner is being interviewed about the phenomenon of him being able to share with fans the going-ons of his just made me laugh. Why isn't it news that we're slowly losing touch of each others' voices and interpersonal relations?

But, actually, I'm not going to lose my love or communication with friends because it's news that Patrick Kane has Twitter (did I mention his followers grew from 4,000 to 20,000 in one night?). Truth is, the keyboard is the only place I feel comfortable sharing collective sentimental thoughts. It's ironic that I would have trouble communicating these things interpersonally, in person, whether or not I had a Twitter. Or a blog.


In all things, cheers! Here's to words and the Chicago Blackhawks (season opens next weekend!) and "tweets" and finding the things or milieu that make your heart and soul beam from ear to ear.
Here, here!

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