I had coffee with one of my former college professors a few
weeks ago. I walked down the road to the
little corner café and we sat for a while talking about life and
direction. We’re both in the midst of a murky time of transition – his post retirement, mine at the end of the season of parenting
preschool aged children. This friend, a retired professor Christian
Spirituality and Ministry who’s penned a biblical commentary for a well-known
series, likes to tease me about the fact that I went to a “better seminary”
When it came up that morning in the coffee shop I smiled and
shrugged. “Yeah,” I said, “and look where it got me – selling flowers
and eggs along the side of the road!”
He smiled and shrugged. “Well,” he said, “that’s important
He’s right. It
is. And I knew it even as I sat there making light of it.
John built the farm stand early this summer and I started
out trying to sell eggs and produce, but sales were slow, by which I mean
nearly non-existent. But then the two
seed packets of Zinnias we planted grew and started blooming in a wild array of
pinks and oranges. I soon added cut
flower arrangements to the stand first in old glass canning jars, then in
recycled soup cans. I called them “Tin
Can Bouquets” and sold them for $1 each.
In late August, a friend of mine discovered the bouquets and posted a picture of them online, sales picked up
dramatically. Some days it felt like I
could hardly keep the stand stocked with flowers. All in all, I’m confident we made more money
in flowers this summer than in produce and eggs combined.
I realized something amazing this summer when I sold my
first carton of eggs to a stranger who happened to stop by because of
the sign in our yard. When you sell
something to another person – in this case, eggs – you’re in some small way,
entering into their life. The woman who
stopped by took my eggs into her home, put them in her refrigerator and they
became part of her meal planning and dinner, lunch or breakfast. A product of mine became part of her life and
I don’t even know her name. The same
goes for writing a book, I guess, or selling flowers, each product offers a
chance to impact someone else’s life.
A few weeks ago I told a small group of friends about
my plan to self-publish Chicken Scratch this November 7th. After taking time to think about my goals for the book and how I would measure its success, I had found I was surprised by my own answer.
“What I most want,” I told them, “is for it to be fun.” I shrugged my shoulders at the word fun, like it was a small
thing. Then with my face scrunched up,
almost as if in apology, I added, “I think it’s really important.”
My friends agreed.
talked about how fun can seem frivolous, unimportant, when compared to the
serious work needing to be done. These
friends work in the non-profit sector, they know a thing or two about serious
work, and yet they agreed, we do need more beauty and joy, more fun in our
I used to think being a good person meant doing all of the
serious work first. Then maybe, if I was
lucky, there would be a few spare moments at the end of the day or the end of a
productive life to do something “just for fun;”
to travel, to rest, to play. I
still find myself thinking that way when the list of good and important, even
necessary, things that must be done is long. (Is it ever not long?)
But I understand now that fun belongs on that list too. Fun is good.
Fun is important. Fun is necessary. So necessary that we may even need to practice at it until we learn to engage in fun, not as a form of escapism or entertainment, but as a way to refill our souls, giving us hope, energy and courage to continue on in the rest of the good and serious work needing to be done.
“It kinda blows my mind,” I told my friends that day. “Of all the things for sale at the farm
stand, all of the useful, practical food items, what people bought most was
I like to think of those tin can bouquets – the ones my
friend bought two and three at a time and took to meetings all over town, the others bought by people I never met or even
saw – those pink and purple happy Zinnia
faces are smiling all around Boiling Springs and Carlisle, on kitchen counters,
dining room tables and goodness only knows where else. What a joy it is to
spread a little fun into pockets of the world I would otherwise never
* * *
Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.
What if we chose to deliberately look for small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God?
That’s my proposal – that we gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days. You’re invited to link-up a brief post about a small moment of wonder. Don’t worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right – you’re welcome to come as you are.
While you’re here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment. Thanks for being part of our community!