Sunday, June 24, 2007

Small Town Saturday Night

Hot. Sultry. Outside on a Saturday night in a small town in the South. Feels much like wearing an angora sweater in a wet sauna. But you suffer the oppressive heat and humidity to gain something more than a satisfactory test of whether your anti-perspirant works like the commercials said it would. You endure the climatic discomfort to connect with the many reasons that keep you here in this small town in the South: the many people.

There are those in this place that loudly complain there is nothing to do here . . . ever. They decry the lack of things to do using foul language. Well, I would like to say a few F-words myself to tell you what this Saturday night in this small town held for me: Family, friends, and fireworks.

A family reunion was taking place at a renovated local train depot. One attending family member is an employee for a professional fireworks display company. Out of his desire to make the reunion memorable, and his love for this community, he put together the biggest fireworks extravaganza the town has previously seen, even larger than the display at the annual Portfest. Free to the families, friends and neighbors of this area.

Who says there is nothing to do in this town? This night is just one of many opportunities we have to enjoy in our small town.

So, we went out to watch what was a spectacular, professional display of fireworks but more than entertainment took place, recreation took place. As the town assembled on Front Street, people connected, relationships were "recreated." The disconnect that happens in the busyness of living life: heading off to jobs, to school, home and garden chores, meetings, civic duties, family activities . . . gone, as people sat next to each other, catching up, connecting. What you heard and saw was laughter, conversation, friendship, hugging, back-slapping, handshaking.

What you experienced was . . . community.

A small town in the South on a Saturday night.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

On the Way to My Shoes

"What does THAT mean?" you might ask. It is a phrase often chuckled about that relates to an event a number of years ago and is accurately indicative of what happens when I become deep in thought.

Several years ago, I received a telephone call asking me to meet someone to which I replied I just needed to put my shoes on and would be there in five minutes. Almost an hour later, I'd still not yet arrived at my destination. For you see, on the way to my shoes, I became distracted by something I was thinking about and was so deep in thought, I forgot about the meeting and instead went on to deal with the issue I had begun reflecting on. It was only when reminded by a phone call from the person I was supposed to meet, that I recalled where I was supposed to be and apologized stating that "something happened on the way to my shoes". Yes, I continue to be distracted by my thoughts as I muse, reflect, ponder and meditate on the questions, situations and challenges that surround me on a daily basis.

As I think on these things, I've begun to write them down and have decided to put them here as a means of sharing, with those that might be interested, what lies close to my heart. I welcome your perspective and sharing of ideas in the hopes that each may be moved, inspired, comforted and enlightened by learning from one another.

I encourage you to remember to slow down in this fast-paced world, to pause and reflect on the mysteries of this life, the experiences that happen, the uncertainties we face and our hopes for the future . . . while on the way to your shoes.

And maybe, just maybe in the process, we might be able to lift someone up, be of help to someone, along the way.