Yesterday was a challenging day. Since what constitutes a challenge in my life pales in comparison to the real challenges faced every day by many, many others, I’ll spare you the details. When I sat down to write this, I intended to write something like, “I really don’t have the energy for writing tonight.” I pulled out my most recent journal with every intention of finding a halfway interesting entry and posting that. But then I got to thinking about the word challenge. Posting something I wrote a year ago didn’t seem like an acceptable offer to a challenge or to the friends I’ve made over the past few weeks. What does the word really mean, anyway? We all have a working definition in our head, but what does the dictionary say? The entry in my trusty World Book Dictionary (which came with the set we purchased when our oldest son started first grade in 1986) takes up more than half the column. The meanings of challenge as a verb are listed first:
- “to call to a game or contest; dare”
- “to call to fight” “to stop (a person) and question his right to do what he is doing or to be where he is”
- “to demand proof before one will accept; call in question; doubt; dispute”
- “to claim or command (effort, interest, or feeling)”
There were several other verb definitions, and the noun definitions were all variations on those for the verbs. The events of my day definitely claimed my feelings, commanded my interest, and my effort. And now that I’ve devoted more than 30 seconds of interest and effort to this post, I feel better. Not completely satisfied, but better. I didn’t back down in the face of a challenge.