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Post-Post-Modernism: A Place With No Earthly Bests

Americans love superlatives. Consider our affinity for the word "best". On any given holiday, social media is flooded with posts about the world's best mom, dad, sibling, spouse, child(ren), and friend(s). All one billion of them (Google just told me one billion people have active Facebook accounts, which I both believe and find mind boggling). Which leaves us wondering: if everyone is the best, is anyone really the best?

When I lived in Western New York, I could easily have named the best free place(s) to take children in the winter, the best Indian buffet, the best store to buy items 90% off, the best local coffee shop, the best playgrounds, the best school, the best place of worship, the best hospital. I probably could have named at least three or four women I considered my best friends, who knew almost everything going on in my life.

Now, I live in a town without public libraries, restaurants, discount stores, coffee shops, playgrounds and functioning schools (the strike persists). We have one church, and one hospital. There's not a lot of room for best here. As I tell my kids when I give them different color plates: you get what you get, and you don't throw a fit.

Attempts to stay in touch with friends in the US have been challenging due to inconsistent internet (shut off in our region for three months), time zone differences (if I text at 3AM EST and don't get a reply, that's pretty much on me), and the fact that life goes on at a frantic pace for those surrounded by innumerable bests. As someone who dislikes decision making, I have come to appreciate the lack of options in rural West Africa. However, the past few months have been emotionally challenging, and I find myself with few distractions or outlets for discussion. There is probably not a single human on the other side of the Atlantic who knows or understands the situations presently weighing on my heart. I live in a post-best world.

Thankfully, God knows all the cries my heart (and every other heart on earth). Which brings me back to the American love of superlatives. In Scripture, positive superlatives are generally reserved for God and His Kingdom. Contrary to the American Dream, we are not seeking our best experience, best friend, or best life now. We are seeking a country not our own, where the ultimate King owns the titles to all the bests that matter.

So, regardless of our situations (known and unknown), we can remind each other: forget what is behind. Strain toward what lies ahead. Press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of Christ Jesus. We who are mature should think this way.

There is no best for me but His.


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