“This was the best birthday party I had in all my life,” announced little Malachi the other day to his Grandma. He had just celebrated his fifth birthday with his family. How precious was that? It reminded us of our four year old Luke’s remarks at a recent picnic. At the time he was devouring a very large strawberry and his little face shone as he exclaimed, “This strawberry is the best one I ever had, and it is so-o-o juicy Grandad!” Most weekends Yvette makes a Frittata for an easy tea. Each one is different to the last depending on the ingredients so although she laughs when we say it’s the best, we really mean it.
Back in the day, when we were children we had best dresses, best shoes and best coats all of which were only worn on Sunday or very special occasions. We would never even think of asking to wear them at any other time. I recall my Kent Nan who always wore a wrap around apron over her dress. When she went down the street she didn’t just remove it she replaced it with her best apron.
Best is used continually in various ways but mostly as a way of expressing our appreciation by comparison. (When Jesus turned the water into wine people said “He has left the best wine till last”.) It can also be used as an encouragement. Sayings like, put your best foot forward, you’re the best man for the job, do your best, and this is the best offer you will ever get, come to mind. So indeed does the rhyme we learned as children attributed to St Jerome:-
Good better best. Never let it rest. Till your good is better and your better is best.
So, it seems to me that we don’t need to compare ourselves with anyone else or wait for someone else to encourage us. All we have to do is aim at being the best version of ourselves that we can be.
Our Kent Nan in one of her aprons.