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Day 46 of Shelter-in-Place

The simple things. Listening to NPR yesterday morning I heard the report about Paul Vasquez who died at the age of 57. For years Vasquez has lived alone in Yosemite. He is best known for posting a video on YouTube of a double rainbow with his spontaneous, ecstatic reaction to seeing a double rainbow, almost a complete arch in the sky. Later Jimmy Kimmel played the video on his show. The video went from hundreds of views to millions, giving Vasquez so much more joy. Vasquez, for the rest of his life was known as the “Double Rainbow Guy”. Watch the story on CNN – it will bring a smile to your face and maybe a tear to your eye. It is the simplest things in life that bring joy to our hearts.

Often, the simplest things in life are not things that are made, built, or created by humans. I recently heard about the joy of watching deer run from pond, to field, to hill, to pond – dancing with joy. They were jumping, playing with each other as they celebrated the onset of spring. Years ago, I remember the sight of our son seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time. He grew up seeing the many manifestations of Mule Lake every morning – a 600-acre lake in northern Minnesota. We had driven from Minnesota to Oregon. When seeing the Pacific, he ran as fast as he could, stopping ankle deep, and raised with incredible amazement his arms with surprise, joy and yes ecstasy. The simple things. From Mule Lake to the Pacific Ocean – an incredible journey.

Some of the other simple things – the mating call of a Common Loon on a spring night when the windows are first cracked open. Late at night looking up at stars unhindered my moonlight and pollution. Then there are the rare occasions when not only do the stars twinkle brightly, but the northern lights dance with waves and multiple colors. A sunrise or sunset reminding us of the enormity of the earth as she quickly rotates and floats in this massive universe. The first shoots of daffodils, iris, showy lady slippers, breaking the cold dirt of spring. Rhubarb, wild asparagus, and morel mushrooms simply growing where they will. The return of hummingbirds and dragon flies.

In her last few months with late on-set Alzheimer’s, my mother stayed at a “Foster Adult Home” owned and operated by a couple who grew up in Romania. Five adult residents, terminally ill, were treated as family. When walking into the home there would be the smell of baking bread or cookies, fresh cut flowers were on the table and the tiled counter tops sparkled from sunlight splashing upon them. Simple things that brought unimaginable joy to the residents and families who were always welcome to visit their loved ones. It gave me great joy knowing Mom was in a place of safety, love, and kindness.

The simple things are the things that sustain life. Fresh air, a cup of clean water, shelter, safety, food properly prepared, the love of family, friends, and others. It is the gathered people; however, we are gathered, that help to bring meaning and purpose to life. We do this by sharing thoughts, dreams, visions with passion and energy. And as we share there may be consensus or disagreement. We take time to move towards complete consensus. It may take hours or even weeks, months and years.

How is it that one encounters these simple things of life? We encounter the simple things with sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste. The simple things are known in the simplest way. We do not need technology we just need to be aware of who we are, where we are and observe and then engage in life – life abundantly!

See, touch, smell, hear and taste. You will find that IT IS GOOD!

In the ways, spirit and agape love of Jesus, Michael

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Michael Small
Pastor, Community Church of Walker – UCC
Mule Lake, Longville, MN

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