Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thanks to Fairmont, MN...the middle of nowhere!

So I’m in the middle of nowhere Minnesota. It is cold! I’m staying by myself at a little Hampton Inn. I walked across the street last night to grab a bite to eat. I had to choose between McDonalds, Perkins and Green Mill. I choose Green Mill (I’ve never heard of it before but it is big in these parts…Just a restaurant/bar place like Chili’s).

I walked in and the place was pack with MN Twins fans cheering and cursing during the Twins/Yankees game. I sat at the bar, ordered a local-ish brew (some brew from Wisconsin) and a bite to eat. I watched the game.

I don’t watch baseball. I don’t like to watch baseball. A few years ago I got on the bandwagon when the Rockies went to the World Series (will be on the wagon again this year J) and I don’t mind going to games because it usually means 3 things: friends, hot dogs and a cold beer. But that is it! I don’t watch baseball!

I watched baseball last night, next to a few new friends from the middle of nowhere MN. I sat next to two best friends who have known each other since college. We chatted. They could tell I wasn’t from around here and asked what brought me here. I told them I was here for work, what I did (working for an anti-slavery organization isn’t generally good dinner/bar conversation). They asked questions. The engaged the issue a bit (of course in between huge cheers and four letter yelps). I asked them what they were up to this weekend. DUCK HUNTING, they told me. I joked with them telling them I had only hunted ducks with Nintendo way back when, but that I was a good shoot! We laughed. It was nice…

Our conversation ended and the two friends just continued to chat. I watched the screen but continued to eves drop on their conversation. They talked about 3 things: baseball, duck hunting and life. For the most part it was classic bar talk. Swear words. Making fun of each other. I smiled.

In the middle of this conversation an amazing moment took place. One of the guys looked to his friend and said “They found a heartbeat. It is amazing! They finally found a heartbeat.”

His friend looked at him with a huge grin that communicated more than ANY words could and said, “F@$% yeah. They did. You must be ecstatic. After everything you have been through. It is amazing. They found a heartbeat!”

He looked up and just said, “yeah. We are so f@$%ing excited!”

That was the end of the conversation…they went back to watching the game.

I sat at the bar and just felt good. I haven’t spent much time in small town USA. I grew up in the burbs, but it wasn’t a small town like this. I think in a lot of ways I maybe judge the level of engagement in places like this. Thinking the simplicity isn’t as good as complexity. Or a laid-back spirit isn’t as good as the go-getter change the world thing in me. I am so wrong.

In that moment I found myself noticing the little things in my life. The details, the simplicity, the small miracles I miss every day… the heartbeat of a little baby in his mother’s womb (my son is a miracle)…the miracle of breath and life (we breathe in and out something we can’t see yet that is the very thing that sustains us)

…of ducks that swim and fly (birds are built to defy the laws of gravity!! That is just crazy when you think about it)

...of the food we eat and how it actually grows (any time I look across a field of corn, or crops, I am amazed! I mean seriously, things grow out of the dirt with water and sun. We can put big words on it that make us feel like we understand it all, like photosynthesis, but it is still a miracle it actually happens!)

…and the one I often miss the most is the miracle of friends, family and love (yes there is a WHOLE LOT that is wrong in the world. We hurt each other…YET we love each other too. It is a miracle that we actually have each other. We depend on others for our species to literally survive. REALATIONSHIP itself is a miracle.)

Thanks Fairmont, MN for reminding me of the simple truths and miracles that this life contain… Jesus, would you give me eyes to see them all again today!

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