Saturday, December 3, 2011

arm-twisting and birthday wishing

A certain cousin, scholar, theologian, and #1 blog fan who turns a year older today has been nagging me to write about his birthday for a year.  And besides the fact that I don't love doing the expected, it takes away the specialness of writing about him out of the overflow of love and friendship I have for him if he's asking for it.  But I think we can all safely acknowledge that this little blog o'mine will have breathed its last by this time next year--it's been sputtering out its dying gasps for months now--so if I don't write about CST1BF today, it won't happen . . . and imagine the sort of tragedy that would occur if I never acknowledged my five favorite things about my #1 fan . . .

So today, under duress, I present the birthday blog of CST1BF.  As I've been preparing it's come to my notice that many of the things I like most about Mac are traits that I also possess, so it may turn out in the process that I talk about myself more often than normal--but you're long since accustomed to me talking about myself too much--and that's something Mac would do too if he were writing this, so it seems too fitting to edit out.

So in some sort of order, here are the five best things about CST1BF:

5.  He loves lists and favorites.  A conversation with Mac often includes discussions about best books or movies or characters or super heroes or foods, and I love (usually) to evaluate what I like and why and attempt to rank them.  It's one of the reason I do five favorites on birthdays, and probably the reason that Mac is so anxious for me to quantify my regard for him through this list.  It's something we have in common that can spark lengthy conversations and healthy debate, and it's also a great way to get to know someone or learn more about them. For all that Mac claims that he'd rather talk than listen, these top five list conversations that he orchestrates end up being a brilliant way to get other people to engage in conversation, and I'd say at least part of the time, he's paying attention and learning about other people--and not just waiting for his next turn to talk.

4.  The other day Shane lost a set of keys in the watch pocket of his jeans--lost them so completely that he retraced his steps to two previous locations to search for them before I made him empty his pockets completely to find the missing keys.  When that happened, I called it a MacMac, who as I've mentioned tends to be a bit scattered, a trait she passed down to her son and to a certain blogging niece.  Mac is disorganized, a bit careless, sometimes clumsy, and often seems physically like this barely controlled whirlwind, and most people reading the past few sentences are wondering where the nice favorite thing part is . . . but that's it.  I love that he's kind of a mess because I'm a mess too.  The fact that he still manages to function in most ways like a normal human despite these tendencies that we share gives me hope and makes me feel more normal when I'm wondering why simple tasks become so complicated in my hands.  Misery loves company, so I'm glad I've got Mac to understand and sympathize when I'm at my MacMac-iest, and I hope that I can do the same for him.

3.  In the past year, I've many more occasions than normal to hear Mac teach, so I've been reminded often how good he is at what he does.  I'm ashamed to say that it's still sometimes surprising that my younger, former punk-kid cousin has serious theological chops, but he's great, often intellectually stimulating, challenging and still accessible.  For someone like me who's been churched all her life--including four years of college-level Bible classes, it can sometimes seem like I'm hearing the same sermons and ideas over and over--and even when Mac's presenting something that I've heard before, his style has a way of engaging me anyway.  That's a big deal to me, and I love him for it.  And it makes me prouder than just about anything else he does.

2.  Mac is hilarious (did you really expect me not to mention humor?), and not just because we are a lot alike.  We do have similar senses of humor, but he is definitely more into shock value and skating the edge (or barreling over it) of inappropriate humor, and thanks to the previously mentioned clumsiness, he's a boundless source of physical comedy as well.  He makes me laugh, and there's nothing wrong with that.

1.  When I write these things it eventually always comes around to love . . . and my Mac tribute is no exception.  Mac has a big, soft heart, and he shows it in how he treats his family and his friends and his students.  He loves and values and cherishes.  He spends time and gives great hugs and doesn't forget to say the words to express that love. And for all that and more, I love him right back.

Happy birthday, buddy.  I hope I did you justice.