Preferences and Priorities

American Literature, Editors

Rebecca Reese

At the beginning of this week, Dr. Schleifer opened his discussion on Walt Whitman by saying, “I’m just going to put this out there. I do not like Walt Whitman very much.” This statement made me begin to think about how often we will refuse to do something because we do not like it. I know I do it all the time.

I tend not to go to the cafeteria on the weekend (even though I am paying for a meal plan), because I do not like it very much.

I tend to wait until the last minute to do some homework assignments, because I do not like them very much.

I tend to ignore conflict, because I do not like it very much. (Unless it is someone else or someone arguing about something stupid on Facebook. Then I like to get a bag of popcorn and watch the flames be thrown.)

I tend not to call and make doctor appointments, because I really do not like those.

It seems like I can be quite the Bartleby. Sometimes my catch phrase is, “I’d prefer not to,” too. I mean, those are basically the exact words I say when someone asks me if I want to go eat in the cafeteria. (Let me tell you, hospital cafeterias are not any better either. What in the world is lemon scented rice and why is the scent the sense you decided to highlight?) But then again, I do not want to be such a Bartleby that people literally pick up and move just to get away from me (However, I do have a similar story, but let’s not go down that road today). I also do not want to die from starvation just because I would prefer not to eat in the cafeteria. That would be really dumb.

I guess there was a time where I did not prefer a lot of things that I do prefer now. Like rollercoasters. I used to be absolutely, 100%, utterly terrified of rollercoasters. My brother and I rode one in some amusement park when on vacation at the beach when I was very little, and I cried the whole time. I swore after that I would never ride a rollercoaster again. And I did not; until junior year of high school when my friends talked me into going to Carowinds. Jonathan recorded my reaction to riding The Intimidator, and it was one of the funniest things I have seen in my life. But after I just got on the ride and did it, I loved it and rode almost every ride after that.

I am sure that Daniel would have preferred not to go in the lion’s den, but he did and lived to tell the story for God’s glory. I am sure that Noah would have preferred to just make a small boat for him and his immediate family instead of building that giant ark for years upon years, all the while being made fun of by the people around him, but he did it and saved mankind and the animals from God’s wrath. I am positive that Jesus would have preferred not to die on that cruel cross, because he said so in the garden the night of his arrest, but thank goodness he did it and saved us all from death.

Sometimes it is just time to get over what we would prefer to do and not to do and just do what needs to be done.

So, even though I would prefer not to, I guess it is time for me to use those meal swipes.


  • Does this mean I have to go to the caf more often too? I actually exclaimed out loud my surprise when you turned the conversation toward God and I must say, it was very well done.I wish Jesus hadn’t had to suffer the way he did but that is one person I am very glad did not listen tho the impulse to sit and do nothing. Jesus is the real MVP.

  • The lemon scented rice made me literally laugh out loud. This post had a great transition and a message that everyone needs to hear. It was a very tactful way to say get over it and do what you have to do. Your point of the examples in the Bible of people who did what they probably did not prefer to do reminded me of Hebrews 11. There are numerous examples of people who were faithful and did difficult things I am sure they would rather not have done. That is the example we are given to follow. Well, them and Jesus.
    Good post!

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