Saturday, February 27, 2010
Sunbeams come in all shapes and sizes.....
My favorite moment in nature is when sunbeams are filtering down through the clouds. Since childhood, I have considered those shafts of light to be directly from God above. Considering the thickness of our overhead air masses at the present time, sunbeams are just not making it down to the ground therefore one has to look elsewhere to see the shining moments of God’s handiwork. Every now and then, He directs a solar spotlight on someone or something. Either I was lucky enough to be a part of those moments this past week, or else I just stepped off of life’s roller coaster long enough to look around. Allow me to share a few of those moments with you.
This week I stopped into one of our local galleries to drop off some work. Sitting at the table, coffee cups in hand, were two other local gallery owners/artists passing the time, sharing a conversation. The wife of one of them was there with their 15 month old son. Typical small talk ensued until the sunbeam hit. Maybe nobody but me noticed it, but that family will be blessed. The husband asked the wife what her plans were for the day (granted, watching a 15 month old does not allow for much “planning”, it is more like riding shotgun on a herd of sheep with a mind of their own) and one activity was to make dinner. I know that chore seems trivial but the simple act and impact of family dinner is huge. The fact that the family was relaxed for a few moments in the middle of the morning and the little one was begin a typical kid with cereal container in hand and nobody was at all hyped up about it struck me as a moment right out of a 1950’s TV show. To even make it more surreal, there was broken bread being shared. Really! Leftover bread from a previous night’s event was offered to all of us. I almost looked heavenward and said “seriously God? Could you make it any more text book than this?” but had I done so, the other artists would have thought me even stranger than I am. So why are they blessed, because that child (and their other two) will grow up with a calm and loving environment. Making dinner and sitting down to dinner are a gift of time and dedication. Granted my years of that are winding down as my kids grow up, but the foundation of those early years lives on in their character as it will for this young family, which brings me to sunbeam number 2.
Last night I had 20 some teenagers at my home. They could not have been more polite, thanking us for having them over. Several stayed behind to clean up (and they did such a great job that I wish I had left a rag and some Endust discreetly on the counter). A few friends who knew this group was coming over just rolled their eyes in disbelief. I had no concerns. Why? Because I know many of their parents, I know the kids names, I did not interfere in their plans or activities but stayed close enough to problem solve. How does this happen in a day and age when all we hear about are hooligan teenagers? Well, it is a matter of putting kids first while they are kids. Just like that family in sunbeam number one, it is the biblical reference that one will reap what one sows. When you let (or show) young people that you care about them, they in turn will care about you. Too bad that does not work on cats. One of mine was decidedly pissed off that her world has been invaded by such creatures.
Sunbeam number 3 occurred during the party. Our neighbors whom we only see at the local club every now and then, stopped by (walked right in) having seen all the cars, figuring we were having a gathering of some kind, and wanted to follow up in an invite to stop by anytime. Most people would probably be shocked. I was delighted! It was like the 60’s all over again when friends and neighbors would show up on the doorstep with a glass of wine in hand (okay, I was about 8 but I can recall this happening at my house all the time) just to say hi. Why do they earn a sunbeam? Because it means they are comfortable enough with us to actually do what most people toss out only as lip-service, “drop by anytime!” My home is your home, it may be a house to others, but it is a home to me and not precious in the least. Wet coats on the floor, so what, a laundry basket on the kitchen table, so what, cat hack on the carpet….okay, I will try and pick that one up first, but one will not get pretenses here which is why kids are welcome at any time and neighbors can drop by for an adult beverage unannounced. Usually we meet in the street with a bottle each time my mailbox gets run over, but since it is buried in snow for now, that will have to wait.
And my last and largest sunbeam happened yesterday when my husband cut his ponytail off for Locks of Love. Yes, the hospital staff sold raffle tickets to be the one to wield the scissors and it was a running joke for a while. But the “event” was more moving than anyone anticipated (at least by me), No, I don’t care about the loss of hair (15” of it), my heart was struck by a little boy, a bald as a cue ball little boy, that came to watch the event, representing those who benefit from such donations (although I pity the kid who gets a salt and pepper wig that is more salt than pepper) he came to give my husband a plaque to thank him. I could have freaking cried. The hospital sent a photographer, a significant number of people came to watch and the winner was a former nurse who had just this wish (to cut his danged hair off) on her bucket list. There were donated gift baskets raffled off, cookies and punch, chants from the crowd, all because my husband just never got around to cutting his hair. A simple thing with such a big impact, but none as big as the smile on that little boy’s face to be the center of attention (or else getting out of school for a few hours could have had something to do with it too). Again, it is a child in the center of my sunbeams.
All these moments reminded me that we truly live in a small town which has not lost its Mayberry mentality. Forbes Magazine may say we are miserable in which case I will proudly park my behind on a lily pad here in Pouty Pond (I live in Noble’s Pond but “noble” is not good for the miserable image hence the new name) and let the sun shine down on me, my friends, my neighbors, our kids, and our local businesses. Rather ironically, I have an 8 foot Statue of Liberty in my front yard, a symbol that all are welcome here. So are you, but bring your sunglasses because the sun is shining all the time.