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You’re my favorite!

My parents once sent Valentine’s flowers to my office in Macon. Delighted, I opened the card to read: “Happy Valentine’s Day, don’t tell Seth, but you’re our favorite.” Seth is my baby brother.  Seth is steady. Seth is the one house left standing after a category 5 hurricane. Seth is built to last. He is dedicated to the path and if he gives you his word, it is 100-year-old oak tree solid. Extraordinarily little surprising comes out of Seth’s world. At any given moment I can tell you exactly where he is and what he is doing. And he likes it that way. Seth’s sister, on the other hand, tends to be the hurricane. I am fierce in most things, good and bad. My way is predictably unpredictable. I am coming in strong, but eventually I will calm down. Seth prefers his path be well established, evenly paved and engineer approved. I am taking the unchartered path, a little perilous with really great views. Stepping back and viewing the Hall siblings with clarity, it became very apparent Mama and Daddy had indeed chosen their favorite wisely. The first thing I did was call Seth and tell him I was the favorite. Meanwhile up Atlanta way, Seth was receiving a Valentine predictably signed: “Happy Valentine’s Day, don’t tell Tracy, but you’re our favorite.” I am sure he smiled, thought, “of course I am, I won’t tell Tracy, it would hurt her feelings.”

Favorites. We are often asked to claim our favorite. At times, to tag our most loved is an easy task. I frankly don’t trust Trefoil people; not as long as there are Samoas to choose from. Some choices are clear cut and should take little to no thought; not if you have any sort of decent character. Other choices are a little tougher. Give me a minute when I am deciding between shades of pink to wear. Proper thought should be invested, and the conundrum given appropriate respect. Sometimes there are only winners, and the lack of loser confuses us. Then there are the other times. There are times when you’re not going to come close to a favorite. Both choices are equally reprehensible and frankly you don’t want your name associated with either, so you walk away empty handed. Ask a Hall if they want Alabama or Georgia to win the SEC Championship. At best you’re getting a “meh” while we head off to Walmart in our Auburn wear. Sometimes, there is just no winner.

One of my favorite ladies in all the world used to sit behind my family in church. She and her husband were everything perfectly southern. He was strong, handsome, complete with a cowboy hat and clearly adored his wife. She was soft and beautiful and always, always cheerful. While I am sure both had their less than favorite days, it was hard to tell it by their dispositions. They were well adored by everyone I knew, and frankly I don’t think I would hang around anyone who didn’t adore them. They were that kind of people. They remain mountains in my memory.  Eventually the mister died. This did not change his wife’s disposition. She remained steadfast in her ability to fill up the space around her with light. As folks do on Sundays, we would turn around and offer a little chat to her and her daughter before the service was called to order. The time between the sanctuary doors opening and the call to worship being played is perhaps the very first moment of something fresh. It is where something new starts, where potential is plenty, and hope is healthy. I shared these moments with Miss Carolyn. She was a great way to start the week. There is one thing she would say that sings in mind even now. I would ask how she was doing, and she would smile and say, “I am God’s favorite child.” The way she said it, I knew it to be true. Seems like a bold statement to make, but from Miss Carolyn, I just smiled back and know that I know that I know that indeed, she was God’s favorite. And as sure as she was his favorite, so am I.

What if we all walked around knowing we were the favorite? My favorite professor has a birthday today. I didn’t tell him happy birthday, I confessed again he is one of my favorite people on planet Earth. He already knows it—he has made several folks’ list, so why tell him again? Because don’t we all want to be told again? Because we tend to forget our standing. Because we need to confess our favorites. Because there is gratitude inherent in declaring a favorite. Because there is something soul satisfying in gratitude. And that is all the answer you need. Fact is, it’s the only answer you get. Do you have a favorite? Have you confessed it? People tend to hate “shoulds,” but alas, I will offer you should confess. Not only because folks need to know, but also because we need to say it. Have you the gumption to let another know or not, please know you are somebody’s favorite. My parents, they have yet to admit their favorite, although Seth and I both know we share equally the honor. Although…….As for you, since Miss Carolyn isn’t here to tell you, you better bet you are God’s favorite child. Miss Carolyn knows. She knows what we all know, there is room for everybody on the favorites list. In fact, the favorites list is just waiting for you to see your name. No doubt, it is even underlined.