An almost old and occasionally wise mirror mate of mine has a favorite parable that she frequently shares with her children and that she shares today with you.
Once upon a time there was a family who lived in a cozy cottage (only one bathroom) in Roy, UT. One day the mother told her children to go outside and look for dog poop. Obediently they went out looking for poop and guess what they found? Dog poop. Plenty of it.
On another day, this same mother told her children to go outside and look for pansies (“…little purple pansies marked with yellow-gold…”--they were looking for flowers, not wimps). Obediently the children went outside looking for pansies and guess what they found? Pansies. Plenty of them.
The moral of the story? Life offers us plenty of poop and plenty of pansies and what you end up with depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for life’s poop, you will find it. If you are looking for the pansies in life, you will find them. So, decide what you want and look for it. You will find it.
This week offered me poop and pansies.
Parents Hislop just returned from a cruise that took them through the Panama Canal. (AWESOME!) While on their trip they purchased cigars from me, which pleased me immensely. (I think it pleased Dad Hislop as well. He loved telling people that he was buying cigars for his daughter-in-law that graduated from BYU.)
Mr. Mitchell, principal of Ogden Preparatory Academy Junior High, is a retired Air Force officer who hates germs (he wears plastic gloves on hall duty and does not shake hands) and loves cigars. Monday I gave Mr. Mitchell a box of Cuban cigars. Initially he was almost speechless and then he almost couldn’t quit talking about them; he admired the box, the length, the size, the brand name. He said he might never use them because they were so pretty in their box and then he offered to share them with me. And then, wonder of wonders, he gave me a hug. Mr. Mitchell, publically brusque, taciturn and unfailingly professional, got up from his seat, rounded the table, and have me a big hug. It was a total pansy moment.
Also Monday I was dismissed from the Standard Examiner Editorial Board. Unbeknownst to me, the Board re-configures every year and this year the reconfiguration happens in February. I have absolutely loved my time on the Board; exchanging views with a group of very intelligent, articulate, and wryly humorous people, provoking and being provoked by thoughts and ideas. I shall miss the people and I shall miss the interactions. I am still looking for the pansies in this but have been unsuccessful so far.
One of the good things about having a life that is overflowing with responsibilities, stewardships, and pursuits is that when one thing is removed from the figurative ocean of activity, even when that thing is as significant as an aircraft carrier (or position on the local paper’s editorial board), the vast waters quickly fill the gap and the currents move relentless forward. (….maybe this is the pansy….)
Miles stayed with a friend Tuesday night while the rest of the family when to Standards Night (a church meeting for youth 12 and over and their parents). When I picked him up I asked “Were you good?” “Yes, Mom,” he replied. Digging deeper I asked, “Did you stand for truth and righteousness?” Pause. “Let’s just stop at good,” he said. Sometimes it is enough to admire the pansy. No need to dig up the roots!
Jill Gibson Hislop, Lance’s sister, and her husband and their two boys (ages 2 and 4) welcomed a couple of foster children into their home this week, two more boys (ages 4 and 7 months). This is a situation where there are TONS of figurative pansies and a bit of literal poop. (Nothing changing diapers again!)
Tanah texted me Wednesday and invited me to lunch. Her treat. She bought me lunch and then we sat and chatted for an hour. Her idea. PANSIES!!!!!!!!! (a whole flowerbed full of them!)
Yesterday Grace started her “Year without Media”. Several weeks ago she asked Lance and I if she could earn a cell phone by going a year media-free (no electronic games or shows watched online). I fully anticipate we will be getting Grace a phone in February 2015. This is a bouquet of pansies that may have lifelong impacts.
Chick earned seven grades last quarter; six of them were A’s. Six pansies!!!!!
Chick said I was “BEAST”. Apparently this is a good thing.
I spent Thursday and Friday at Thanksgiving Point (Lehi, UT) revising the Open Educational Resource (OER) that the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) created for 8th grade science. (Lest you be too impressed, don’t be. USOE solicited volunteers and, to the best of my knowledge, everyone who volunteered was accepted.) The final day I arrived back at my hotel room, hot and sweaty from running 5 miles, at 8:40 a.m. The morning’s meeting started at 9:00—twenty minutes to shower, dress, pack and check out, grab breakfast, and get to the meeting, a four minute drive away. I walked into the meeting at exactly 9:00 a.m. “BEAST” according to Chick. It seemed like a pansy to me.
Side note: If a blow dryer is laid on its side on the counter, blower tube facing out, it is possible to dry one’s hair while bending down to use both hands to put on one’s shoes and socks.
Arcade games, bumper cars, glow golf, gourmet pizza……….These are a few things that our family does not do……….at least not very often. Enlightened by the thought that perhaps I should organize a family event that all my children would enjoy without any urging on my part and enabled by some great 2 for 1 online coupons, I took the family to Fat Cats Fun Center at the Junction in downtown Ogden Saturday afternoon. We (yes, even me) had a great time. Grace had the machine’s high score in skeet ball and the second highest score at the basketball machine. Chick won the jackpot on “Let’s Make a Deal” and Lance proved he is still Pacman proficient. Lance said that shooting elk on the game was too much like trying to shoot them in real life to be fun—he claims he missed them all on screen too. In truth, he had a triple bull round (shot three bull elk) and it cost only a couple of dollars in tokens to do it, which is not very much like what happened in real life. (LOVE YOU LANCE!!!) Miles beat me at air hockey and Tanah beat Miles at Connect Four. It was a great afternoon in the pansy patch though this is a pansy patch I don’t plan on visiting again for quite some time. Going to an arcade is like a hundred-year storm event for me; it simply does not happen very often.
If you are looking for a “pansy” type reading experience, I have a couple book recommends for you.
- Second Suns (Relin, David) An incredibly well-written book about two incredible men who have done an incredible thing: restored sight to hundreds of thousands of the world’s poor. It is a non-fiction page turner that I could not put down.
- The Rent Collector (Wright, Cameron) I was wary at first, concerned that it would prove sappy, but soon fell in love with the book. Living in a dump and learning literature. What’s not to love about that?
- Moon Over Manifest (Vanderpool, Clare) Newberry Award Winner. Delightful.
May you hunt for pansies this week! (....because, if you hunt for them, you will find them!)