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Shot Of The Day

Olives!

It's the "Boring" Little Things...

I’ve just seen the movie UP. The line that keeps swimming in my head was spoken by a little boy who had an absent father. He longs for the things dads give their boys. Not cars or video games or footballs. He’s in boyscouts trying to learn to be a man from other men who have time to give him. He’s trying to get all the “badges” that evidence “manhood” to the world and he laments to his new found friend, an elderly man who longs to be alive after losing his wife… “it’s the boring little things that I miss about my dad.” He goes on to explain the simple things they did together, like going for ice cream after an event and sitting on the curb counting cars — “you take red and I’ll take blue and whoever counts the most of their color wins,” his dad would say. It wasn’t the ice cream or the cars that he missed, it was the relationship. It was time. It was presence. To the little boy, it didn’t matter so much WHAT they were doing together, it mattered more THAT they were together, in relationship. Thinking back on the highlights of my time with my mom or my dad or my grandpa or my grandma or my husband or my son, I can remember little “boring” things that bring them to me. The times we were really present with each other. My mom’s way of comforting us by pushing our hair behind our ears as she said, in only the way a mother can, “it’s all going to look brighter in the morning!” My dad’s way of drawing stories with a pen and holding our attention with his talent and patience. My grandma’s deep voice as she sang from a place in her soul that seemed mysterious. The way my grandpa held your hand… for real. My husband listening to my lecture or sermon before delivering it to an audience and giving me his heartfelt critique, knowing that I needed more than flattering encouragement. Knowing that I needed truth. My son playing the latest song he learned on the guitar or showing me his latest card trick and leaving simply thrilled that I had all the time in the world to watch. As I work on finishing a coffee table book of our trip to Israel almost two years ago, I keep finding myself in awe at the little “boring” things that awoke us on our journey through the Holy Land — like olives growing on trees. I had only ever seen them in jars in Publix or Winn Dixie. Imagine little green neon bulbs popping endlessly over the branches of a tree! How cool is that? That the Creator of the universe thought to decorate a tree like this with food really makes me love HIM. It’s weird, I know. But if you really stop and let it in — it’s good weird. The little “boring” things are not so boring really. They are gifts. They are amazing, when we stop stepping over them and around them and pause to let them in. Like the little boy in UP, it’s the little things that draw us into relationship. After all, the olives in the jar at the grocery store never did to my curiosity what this tree ultimately did. Ignited it! Lit it on fire! Put it in overdrive! Who thinks this stuff up? Trees from which we are permitted to pluck edible balls of nutrition sitting randomly on the path of life? Little? Boring? No way! Who thought this stuff up? It’s genius. Pure genius.

Posted: 31 May 2009