Something just came across my Facebook newsfeed, asking me what song always brought a smile to my face. I didn’t think too hard about it, and answered back a few: “Mama Welcome to the ‘60s” from Hairspray, almost anything from the Beatles or Fogelberg, and oh so many more. There isn’t just one.
I don’t have a favorite song. I don’t have a favorite color. I don’t have a favorite book or movie or song or food or season or toy.
I really don’t have favorites, and that’s not coming from a personal philosophy. It’s coming from the fact that I change, a lot, and a favorite anything would suggest some sort of constancy. It would also mean that something else wasn’t a favorite, and that’s just not true. There are a lot of foods that make me smile; there are a lot of colors that appeal; and there are about a zillion movies and songs and Broadway shows that, at any time or place, could be my favorite. After all, the song isn’t, “This is my favorite thing,” it’s, “These are few of my favorite things.” (Musical theater is truth.)
I do have favorite moments. My wedding; my children’s entrances into my life; and every single time I go on stage, no matter what the show is. Or, for that matter, any time I am sitting in a darkened theater, the orchestra is ready to tune up, I’ve read the program “who’s who” section to see if I recognize anyone, and it’s all about to begin. Anyone who knows me knows that theater is a huge part of my life; indeed, it’s one of my favorite parts of my life. How could I possibly pick one show?
Does “favorite” really imply some constant? If so, if there are no favorites, does that mean there is no constant? I am far more comfortable with the idea that the constant is openness, fluidity, ebbing and flowing, moments of great expectations and possibilities.
Mind you, all this fluidity makes absolute sense when I think of food and songs and colors, but has absolutely no place in the day-to-day reality of life itself. In that realm, I am never the person who says, “Don’t worry. Relax. It will all work out,” though I say that to friends and family. They probably know I’m lying … I’m a huge fan of constancy when it comes to income, family, income (did I say that already?) I long for dependability and predictability and constancy. And it’s not because I want to accumulate wealth; it’s what predictability lets me do – all the other fun things that I don’t have to choose between.
So, I guess, as I think about it, I do have a favorite thing – a toy. My favorite toy would be a kite. It’s grounded and free. It has a center, a place to hold on to. And because one end is tied to something, the other end can fly free; it can dance and swoop and delight. The theater constant isn’t the show itself; the constant is living inside it, bringing it to life, whatever the words or music. Any particular food isn’t the favorite, but the person I’m sharing it with creates a favorite moment.
As a kite, I don’t have to pick a favorite anything, because any given day that I’m flying in a perfect blue sky, with enough breeze to lift my soul, see the world’s possibilities, yet know I won’t get lost and I have something or someone to ground me … well, that is my favorite thing.