Another Ordinary Extraordinary Day

Another Ordinary Extraordinary Day

posted in Blog, Creation, Design, Life in General | Friday, April 6th, 2012

On my way to running errands this evening, while driving through the blip of shopping that makes this little stretch of Highway 124 the unofficial main street of Snellville, I pulled off on the right to snake my way between the strip buildings and the road. I passed Moe’s, the hippie version of Tex/Mex, and parked the van in the closest space to Panda Express, my chain restaurant of choice at the moment. In something resembling a twisted loop, it was my first stop on a trip that would allow me to scratch Wells Fargo, Kroger and Office Depot off my to-do list.

Nancy’s been away on a trip to the mountains with her mom since Tuesday. So far, I’ve cooked each night but the thought of quick and easy Chinese food with no dishes to clean sounded good. I took my turn in line and, carefully avoiding anything with the word “spicy,” chose the items that would fill the three indentions in the styrofoam to-go box my server was holding. The restaurant was about half full and if Nancy was with me I would have auto piloted to the nearest open spot. But she wasn’t with me, so I headed out the door to the patio where all the tables sat empty.

It was cool outside. Temperature wise. I was in my usual uniform of shorts, t-shirt and sandals – the universal outfit of appropriateness for all but the coldest days (if you are from South Florida). A light breeze was blowing, enough to feel it but not enough to blow the plastic bag (that now held only a fortune cookie, napkin, and plastic knife) off the table.

I sat beneath an outdoor speaker that played oriental, instrumental pop songs at a fairly peppy volume. Think Coldplay à la King.

The sun, barely hidden by the brick corner of the restaurant, was on its way to setting over the Publix in the shopping center across the street. Little pieces of brightly lit fuzz, or whatever, wafted in the low, yellow shaft of light just beyond the slice of shade in which I sat. They danced like snow, completely unconstrained by gravity, to the soundtrack above my head. The traffic was moving at its own cadence – flashing by in both directions with evenly spaced pauses where the cars would slow and stop for unseen lights. The scene around me was bathed in music the way a movie is immersed in a soundtrack. The hums and roars of traffic laid down like a background track adding a connective aural ambience to the 3D IMAX view of life around me.

Earlier in the day I read a tweet with a quote from Michael Bierut. He said, “Not everything is design. But design is about everything. So do yourself a favor: Be ready for everything.” I was still thinking about that. And I was noticing all the various things around me that had been designed. The evenly spaced, same sized trees that formed a single line separating the street from the stores. The layout of the parking lot with measured allotments for modern vehicles. The placement of green, living shrubs in the spaces between and around the red and brown architecture of brick and stone. The graphic design on the cup that holds my water. And that’s just for starters. Of the stuff designed by people. Add in all the elements designed by God and you’re in deep water, real quick.

Bowing my head to return thanks for the food before me, I realized again how very much I had for which to be thankful. Eyes to see the wonders of a spring sunset, ears to hear the sounds of music and man, skin to feel cool breeze, a nose to smell great food and a tongue to taste it. I also was aware that I was enjoying these good gifts on Good Friday, the day that the Creator of these good gifts was so violently tortured and crucified on my behalf, and for every other son and daughter of Adam. He died and rose that I may live. Abundantly. Forever. So many details, so unfathomable, so extreme. Our redemption purchased by the only One who could pay the price. Ultimate good from ultimate horror. Ultimate love. Wow. SO much to be thankful for.

Perhaps the person looking in my direction from the drivers seat of the van parked in the handicapped space thought I had fallen asleep. I don’t know.

Thirty feet away, a man walks by holding a child in his arms. The small boy, seeing me, waves and calls out, “Hi!” Oh, the echoes of Eden. The little one has not yet learned to fear. What a joy to see children who smile, and say “hi” and look you in the eyes.

I enjoy being with people, engaging in conversation, experiencing life together. But I also enjoy times, like this, of being alone. I can pay attention, real attention, to what is happening, and not happening, around me. I notice the variety in the people walking by. With different styles, different adornment, different gates. With different stories. Stories all known in detail by the God who made them and loves them.

My meal is now finished. The slip of paper in my fortune cookie says, “Express your talents in art and music.” I can live with that.

The solar orb has just buried itself somewhere behind the grocery store and the pastel blue dome of heaven now has a soft, glowing ring of orange around the horizon. The temperature is dropping with the sun, and cars, as if on cue, have lit themselves like strands of white and red Christmas lights. On this ordinary extraordinary day in Snellville, Georgia, it is very, very good to be alive.


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