Thursday, September 17, 2015

LMJ word of the week - suzerainty

Continuing the Le Mot Juste word of the week essay.  Enjoy.

Suzerainty (/ˈsjuːzərənti/ or /ˈsjuːzərɛnti/) is a situation in which a powerful region or people controls the foreign affairs of a tributary vassal state while allowing the subservient nation internal autonomy.

From the moment we learn the word "I" we begin to say it: "I can do it myself."   We learn it early, and we have it taught to us, over and over. 

Autonomy.  It is a powerful word.  The right to control your own actions.  

In fifth grade, I had to do a bibliography for a project I was working on.  I just didn't understand it - the whole process of explaining where you got your information was foreign to me.  And probably, poorly explained.

I confessed to my mom that I was struggling with the assignment, and that I was going to stay after school and get some help.  She agreed to pick me up later that day, and I sat in the classroom and worked on my project. 

And not once did I open my mouth about the fact that I was having a hard time understanding what I was supposed to do.  Mrs. Marin never knew.

Mom, on the other hand, was flabbergasted.  The idea that I would stay after school to get help, and be to ashamed - for that was the word for what I felt - that I wouldn't even ask for help?  Inconceivable.

But it really isn't.  We all want to feel like we don't need the help of everybody to do what we are supposed to do. We want to have authority to do what we are supposed to do, with minimum of oversight.  Sure, I have to answer to someone.  And sometimes, I want to have powerful people dealing with external affairs.  But for the most part, the more that the boss can leave me to do my work, the happier I am. 

Today's word of the week is like that.  The idea of a suzerainty is an entity that has autonomy on internal affairs.  And has a powerful person in charge of it all.

Maybe part of the reason that the idea appeals to me is that I also see my relationship with my creator in the same light.  The day-to-day operations is left up to me.  Free will, and the like.  But I also fit into a larger plan, where the part I play is backed by a powerful creator.  And it is there that my will folds into Hers.

I am happy in her suzerainty. 


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