“Hey Shannen, what do you think of when you hear the word, word?” I had just returned from a run and had been considering the word, word while I was out and about the city.
“Word up homey.” My roommate replied.
“And what does that mean?” I typed her answers as she spoke them.
“You know, something like, ‘What’s up G?’”
“And what does G mean?”
“Friend, boy, girl, it - it’s like a generic phrase for, ‘What’s up you?’”
“How do you know all of this?”
Shannen paused for a moment. “I don’t know. I’m a little white girl, raised in the ghetto until we moved when I was 10. The year after we moved…” Shannen went on to tell me the stories of two horrific crimes that took place in her childhood neighborhood shortly after she and her family had moved away. And I stopped typing. They are the kind of stories that would easily find their way into a Stephen King novel, but won’t find their way onto my blog.
She ended her recall by stating, “I’m glad we got out when we did.”
“I’m glad you did too.” I set my computer aside and hit the shower, thinking about Vanilla Ice, his bad eyebrow job, and the part at the end of his song that where he says, “Yo man, lets’ get out of here - word to your mother.”
Word to your mother? What does that even mean?
The reason I was overanalyzing the word, word is not simply because I’m a girl, and that’s what we do, but rather because tonight I went a different sort of run. You see, I’ve known for quite some time that I live in the Publishing Capital of the World – I just didn’t realize that I lived so close (i.e. within running distance) to two of the biggest publishing companies in the world – Random House at 56th & Broadway, and Harper Collins on East 53rd street between 5th and Madison.
And so this evening, after spending several hours researching publishers for my graduate work, I ran to the skyscraper homes of Random House and Harper Collins and did somewhat of a charismatic thing – I laid hands on the buildings and prayer walked around them on the adjacent sidewalk. I can’t tell you all that I prayed, mainly because some of it was in tongues, and so really, I couldn’t tell you even if I wanted to, but some of it was also rather personal – you know, like how it should be in a relationship with God.
But it was at Harper Collins on 53rd, that I really began to consider the significance of words – and I began to ponder the Scriptures – like at the beginning of John 1. The chapter starts off by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” This passage of Scripture use to confuse me as much as Vanilla Ice. Finally one day someone told me the “secret” that the Word was Jesus, and so really the passage was trying to say, that in the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.
Granted, it says later in the chapter, that the word became flesh and dwelled among us, and so I should have put two and two together, but I also should have known that when I signed up to take Hebrew in college it was study the Hebrew language – not the books of Hebrews.
(more to come)