If we can feel sorry for a word, we ought to feel sorry for that one. It doesn’t enjoy nearly the popularity it deserves. What a shame that a word filled with such energy, enthusiasm and euphoria should become relatively invisible when describing our outlook or emotional state of being. Think about it. When was the last time you heard someone say, “I feel EXUBERANT?!”
Truly I hadn’t heard such an exclamation until yesterday when I caught up with a friend whom I hadn’t spoken with in many months. I opened with a customary, “How are you?”
“I’m exuberant thank you! How are you?” came her buoyant response.
Who knows what answer I was expecting, but that wasn’t it. I’ve grown accustomed to folks saying, “I’m okay,” or “I’m fine,” or “I’m good,” or “I’m well,” which is the grammatically correct way of saying you feel good. The more optimistic among us tend toward “great.” Occasionally, I even catch, “I’m just awesome, thank you!” “Amazing” pops up here or there too.
But, “exuberant?” Hardly ever – wait – never, or at least not in my hearing. That word is absent enough as a self-descriptor that it demanded I explore further about my friend’s uncommon response. “What’s got you so?” I asked.
“I’m always exuberant,” Lynetta explained. “It’s a choice. And I choose.”
Then comes the moment when you scratch your head and say that’s it? No new job, or new house, or new boyfriend? You didn’t get a raise? You’re cheerful and jaunty and full of life simply because you are — because you CHOOSE to be? How about that!
Now, Lynetta is a fitness instructor. So, I’d expect great energy from her, what with all that running and hopping and bouncing she does each day. Jumping jacks, crunches and burpees oughta be minimally worth a midday high for all that effort. Still, nothing about Lynetta’s exuberance alluded to physical exertion or ability. She never mentioned any of that.
She did acknowledge Jesus by name and did offer that she’d found purpose in life. But as for her exuberance specifically, that was bedrock and an intentional choice. It’s what she chose and chooses to be.
It’s also what Lynetta shares with others. “Let the exuberant choice become an epidemic! It’s big enough for all to share!” she proclaimed. “I don’t mind sharing it at all.”
As a formula that might express like this: choose jubilance, plus meditate on something greater than yourself, times share all that with others equals exuberance. What a word!
© Copyright 2015, Jonathan Clarke, All rights reserved