By Becky Cook
No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you! And, no I didn’t just invert the words because of my convoluted perception of things. All my life I’ve done strange things to words and phrases which give them my personal signature. It’s not always planned but always gives fodder to family and friends who lovingly make me a target for teasing. It may be foolhardy to even tell you about it, because it just makes me a glutton for more punishment. Anyway, if you’ll hang in there a bit, I hope you can find something to give your heart and face a smile.
In our church in Kentucky there was an annual stewardship event designed to kick off the new budget year and to encourage people to make monetary pledges to support the church’s various programs and missions projects. One year a little promotional film was designed for the kickoff “party.” A drama teacher, the pastor, and a few other really creative folks in the church combined forces to design a script, select a “cast”, and bring it all together in a meaningful way for the stewardship event . Some segments were filmed in proximity to the church itself, though there were other select locations in rural areas, such as along a rolling/singing creek. Scripts were distributed and the “performers” assembled for filming sessions. You would recognize most of the topics covered, from educational materials, to music ministry, to buildings and grounds, to assistance for the downtrodden, and much more. The program was interesting, informative, and entertaining. The film was a hit and a successful motivator. BUT……a few days after the “premier“, the film maker, a stand-up comic himself, who had produced this wonderful little cinema, sent each of the “actors” a copy of the out-takes he had edited for our entertainment! You guessed it! Anyone (including myself) who goofed or rearranged their little speech at all was included in the out take video. The segment I read contained three or four wonderful sentences about the help our church gave to the homeless and the needy! But, you guessed it. The words which came out of my mouth were about “the needless and the homely!” Also, at the first filming one couple read their piece perfectly but never moved a single muscle in their faces. All they needed was a pitch fork held firmly between them and it would have been another version of American Gothic!
When I was learning language as a child, dyslexia and ADHD were not household words. I would easily have fit right in, for I often reversed parts of words, such as hanger-coat and grade-roader. I displayed a regular menagerie of such reversals, but it seemed no adult, parent, teacher, or medical professional in my purview assumed I had a serious problem. I grew up, finished college and graduate school, married, and raised a family, and held a variety of jobs over the years requiring me to correctly use The King’s English!
So now I find myself wondering what’s so awful about being a word scrambler? After all, in this day of texting and other media abbreviations we’re encouraged to make huge shortcuts in our dialogue. Moreover, what’s so evil about sharing (in a separate video and with permission of course) the humorous mistakes the readers made in the original taping of the church stewardship video? It was delightful, self-effacing fun!
In the beginning we looked at church benevolence projects and the ways they are categorized in the budget? The homeless and the needy will always be with us and will always receive our help. But, take a long hard look. Use your imagination. I doubt you will find a ministry (anywhere) which is focused on people who have no apparent needs OR for folks who were not blessed with natural beauty. ‘Might be a bit difficult to decide who they are?!