Every now and then people make up words or expressions and they somehow stick. They wiggle their way into our speaking and even our thinking. So it is with “count-on-able.” It was used in a seminar I attended years ago and just kind of took up residence in my head and heart. While there’s nothing wrong with words like reliable or dependable or steadfast (does anyone say that anymore?), there’s something fresh and familiar about count-on-able.
It means just what it looks like it means (which is refreshing in and of itself!). It might be something we say about a reliable vehicle or a dependable kitchen appliance. When we go to it, we can trust it will work for us, do what we need for it to do. If we are fortunate enough to have a person or three in our lives to whom we may turn for help or support without fail, we might think of them too as count-on-able. Not that they are machines and not susceptible to their own breakdown, but we trust that they will do what they say they will do and that they will be there with us and for us no matter what. Well, almost…
That’s one of the sticky issues with human beings, isn’t it? Susceptible to breakdown. We feel. We think and process and reflect and react. And sometimes we snap. Occasionally we sink. Often we stumble. It’s all a part of the marvelous way we’re made. Which is why count-on-able is such a great expression. We are reliable as we’re able to be. We are dependable when we’re capable of being. Sure, some people seem more able than others. And, of course, that’s perfectly fine. It’s an indication of the beautiful variety in human life. But one of the rubs we often experience in this mess of shared humanity is when someone has been repeatedly count-on-able and for whatever reason, for a moment or a season, becomes un-avail-able. Not able to be there with and for us as we desire and need.
Precious little in our lives is rock solid. When most everything underneath us and most everyone around us crumbles, where will we stand? Is there anyone upon whom we may count who is able to be there with and for us?