Sunday, August 08, 2010

Corny Weekend...and Yet Not

Thanks, Lenore for the photo!

This weekend was the annual Corn Festival in Olathe, Colorado which is the small neighboring town where our kids have attended school. This is a huge event, where 15,000+ people gather in this little town with a population of maybe 2000 and gorge on all the free sweet corn they can eat. There are tens of thousands of ears of corn consumed, it is a veritable corn gobbling orgy!! It takes hundreds of volunteers to pull this off, and any donations are given to Habitat for Humanity, which our little congregation was instrumental in bringing to Montrose. Our family (and our congregation) has volunteered at this event every year for the past several years, and it is something we wouldn't miss.

Our Pastor and I worked side by side, and got a little corny ourselves. We were hawking our wares like carnival barkers, doing corn dances to lure in people to eat just one more ear, we made puns, sang ditties and generally were cutting up our entire shift and had a blast. As Pastor Karen said, I think we raised the bar this year for corn distribution!! It sure beat the humid and horribly hot shucking tent where I usually get assigned :-)

We also had a booth where the kids hawked their own wares...pre-packaged snacks and pickles. They had such a wonderful time and the girls were enthralled at first as they had never seen that many people or an event such as this. They quickly got in the spirit of things as they chomped on ear after ear, wandered around with friends, and sold snacks like pros. The boys also had a ton of fun and it was a great learning experience on so many levels for them all as they practiced making change, suggestive selling, learned about profit and loss and all the work that goes into making even a small business successful. We had rain much of the afternoon and early evening which slowed sales considerably. We didn't make a ton of money which was to be used towards their camp costs, but they gained so much in other ways that it was well worth it.

And the day proved well worth it in other ways too, ways that are more important and not measured by cold hard cash in the palm of your hand. You know, when you want to see it, the Holy surrounds us...yes...even at the Olathe Corn Festival. I saw it everywhere, was immersed in it throughout the day and well into the evening.

Watching a community pull together to create an event like this which absolutely can not occur without the volunteers giving up their time is sacred in itself. People from many different denominations and political groups putting aside differences to bring joy to is something not often seen today in our contentious and often divided world.

There was the love of a mother for her child...interrupted twice during the Wynona Judd concert as she had to make a potty run and did so without complaint, settling back into her seat after the final trip to have her beloved daughter fall asleep in her arms while our sons lay together on a blanket at our feet, fast asleep after a fun but exhausting day. Buddies big and small cuddled up in a single blanket blond hair and dark Asian hair sticking out from underneath, tucked in as if merely brothers from another mother.

Conversations of depth and substance as others walked past, God being explored in the most unexpected place and yet isn't that where it SHOULD be part of our everyday lives rather than reserving such dialogue for Sunday only?

The sacred is not devoid of humor. The laughter and delight that was shared as gloved hands held corn up high, waving and serving as we traded thoughts about the joys of being free to embrace our eccentricity was just as sacred a moment as any other, wrapped in smiles and joy. It also was a welcome reprieve from the seriousness of our usual conversations, a time when we could relax and share our quirkiness rather than my tears.

Dominick traipsing through the rain-soaked grass, kids at his heel as they tried to sell 3 ' long licorice to other kids waiting for the concert to begin...and the grins on the faces of our children as they come running back to our canopy to dry off and warm up a bit.

Standing outside with Angela tucked in to my chest, burrowing deeply as we rocked together to the beat of the music from some unknown local band, damp hoodies and wet feet, yet warm deep inside in a way no one else would ever understand. The clouds break way, giving space for the sunlight to cast its shafts of golden early evening light upon us all...and yet somehow feeling it was just for us as we continued to snuggle and sway. Olesya walking up and silently wrapping her arms around us and all 3 of us holding on for dear life, a little piece of us collectively acknowledging what we almost missed out on a few months ago.

Sitting side by side with the daughters of another woman whom I admire greatly who has shared pieces of her life with me, as I shared a piece of our life with them. Hooting and hollering as Wynona rocked it, then coming almost to tears as she sang the final song which I, not being a huge follower of the Judd's, had not really listened too deeply before but suddenly stunned to hear my own life this year played out in her husky voiced lyrics:

Love Can Build a Bridge

I'd gladly walk across the desert
With no shoes upon my feet
To share with you the last bite
Of bread I had to eat
I would swim out to save you
In your sea of broken dreams
When all your hopes are sinkin'
Let me show you what love means


Love can build a bridge
Between your heart and mine
Love can build a bridge
Don't you think it's time?
Don't you think it's time?

I would whisper love so loudly
Every heart could understand
That love and only love
Can join the tribes of man
I would give my heart's desire
So that you might see
The first step is to realize
That it all begins with you and me

(Repeat Chorus)

When we stand together
It's our finest hour
We can do anything, anything
Keep believin' in the power

(Repeat Chorus)

Love and only love
Love and only love

Yes, I have seen it with my own eyes, I have lived it thanks to God's everlasting grace and presence. Love CAN build a bridge in even the most hopeless of circumstances. I would walk across deserts, I would swim any ocean, I would offer myself up completely for those I love.

For that is what God, through others, has offered me.

A corny weekend, maybe. A blessed one, certainly.


Anonymous said...

The one picture was priceless--the joy, the service, the laughter, but more than that you have built pictures of the day. I can see the tousled heads under the blanket, the smiling faces of the hawkers, the children, wide-eyed, strolling with friends through the crowds, you and the girls holding each other in love.

Thanks again for sharing love with us,

Karen said...

Corn that feeds the body, in God's hands, feeds and satisfies our souls too. God is so amazingly creative--and generous!

(And yes, I know I could've spelled it "amaizingly," after a day full of corn puns.)