In my cigar box of personal “treasures”, and along with such items as my 1946 Boy Scout compass, my 1st “Pilot Log”, samples of frankincense and myrrh and my Dad’s WWI Marine Corps dog tags, lies a tiny hammered-brass coin known to history and bible scholars as a widow’s mite. Excavated in Jerusalem, its personal value lies in the knowledge that it passed from hand-to-hand in the daily transactions of real people who lived nearly two thousand years ago. When I hold it in my hand I am “transported” across time in a spiritual but undeniable way. I am often led to do just that.
In the process of trying to live mindfully at a time and in a place in which disappointment, discouragement and self-doubt are ever-present, I have found it important to acknowledge – and yes, even celebrate – the little successes and tiny marvels that occur around us every day. I am probably not alone in today’s world of hand-held devices, “talking” ear-buds, and an endless supply of “Apps” promising answers to every question, in wondering what great truths are being whispered to us but missed in the confusion we call modern progress.
As I made my routine “rounds” this morning, I exchanged vocal greetings with our six golden hens waiting for the sound of my voice and the touch of my hand – and yes, a scattering of corn kernels they knew would be coming. They are just one year old this week, but they have long been delivering to us (and our neighbors) their gift of five, and often six beautiful, hard-shelled brown eggs every day. They are wonderfully garrulous, sociable and always-happy creatures who never cease to delight us. Their happy nature and undeniable generosity are contagious. We would be the poorer in every way without them in our lives I realized.
Stepping into our greenhouse, I spent ten minutes checking out and admiring a raised bed of garlic plants already more than a foot tall. Carefully divided and planted last November 1st, they represent five different varieties brought back from last fall’s visit with our friend Brooke Bottger at her Oregon Trail Garlic Company in Baker City, Oregon. This year I mulched my planting with straw which has made a huge difference. As an adventurer in the culinary arts, garlic in all its historical wonder is for me a vegetable as valued as silver and gold and my stop in the greenhouse sent a shot of pleasure into my day’s beginnings.
A mid-morning phone call from Denver turned out to be our Colorado grand-daughter calling to check in on us as she does several times each week. “I love you so much” she stressed before moving on in her busy daily routine. Before moving on with my own planned tasks, I sat for a moment to think back over moments which beg to be remembered.
Some weeks ago, as my wife and I were leaving a favorite local restaurant where we often observe our weekly “day out” together, I noticed a 20-something young man seated with a small blonde girl, obviously his daughter. There was a look of mixed and abject sadness and gladness on his face. On sudden impulse I halted and stepped back. Pointing to the child I asked “where did you get this beautiful little blonde girl?” Looking up with a grateful smile he answered, “well from my ex wife mostly I guess” he replied, verifying what I had suspected from the overall picture. “Well, are you going to try and get her back?” I said. “I’m afraid it’s too late for that” he replied sadly. Leaning over to shake his hand, I said, “well that is one beautiful daughter you have sitting beside you, congratulations!”
Almost leaping from behind his table, and with tears running from his eyes he hugged me tightly, saying “Thank you! Thank you so much!”
I can only dare wonder what the exchange may have meant to that young father, but for me that moment of human connection was one of life’s small three-minute wonders. The kind we unfortunately too often miss altogether or too quickly allow to pass from our recollection.