While in the Toronto Airport, I posted on Facebook my gratitude for a remarkable summer—six Orff courses over seven weeks and still a couple of weeks to vacation with family in Morocco, Oregon and Michigan. Now there is a fine line on Facebook between a sincere sharing with friends about the ups and downs of your life and a narcissistic boasting of your glorious life and its sumptuous meals. Sometimes the line between the two is thin and though I like to think that I’m firmly on the first side, let’s face it—when people comment that they admire certain things about me and my latest exploit, well, I don’t mind the praise.
But it struck me when some 10 of the 15 comments used the phrase “You are amazing!”
While it’s true that sometimes I’m impressed by my energy and ability to sustain a demanding workshop schedule, there really is nothing to take credit for. It simply means that I’ve had the good fortune to find the work that perfectly suits the way I’m put together and uses every inch of everything I’ve cared about enough to work on and cultivate. What’s so amazing about that?
But it got me thinking about that word and went to my trusty online Etymological Dictionary and found that is comes from an Old English word amasian, with these definitions and associations:
1. To confuse, surprise.
2. To overwhelm or confound with sudden surprise or wonder.
3. Stunned, dazed, bewildered.
4. Stupefied, irrational, foolish.
Huh? Not what I expected! But then I connected it to the word “maze” and it made more sense. While wandering in the maze, one doesn’t know where one is. You hit many dead ends, get disoriented, walk about a bit dazed, bewildered, confused. Where am I? Which is the right way? You make foolish choices and are driven by some irrational desire to find out what’s at the center. And when you do stumble upon it, you are wholly surprised and …well, amazed that you ever lucked into finding the glory that awaited you at the end of it all.
So that’s a pretty good description of a life that led to the immense pleasure and energetic vigor that allows me to teach 6 hours a day for 5 straight weeks with unflagging energy. That’s amazing! In the old sense of the word.
Now let’s see if I can wind myself through the school year ahead.