I have watched so many Hallmark movies I can almost tell you to the minute when the story line is going to start tattering and the relationship between the couple is going to start falling apart. It takes place in the last half hour of the movie and lasts about fifteen minutes so then the characters have to make up and get back together in the last ten minutes before the show goes off.
I am not making fun of Hallmark movies…I really like most of them but I have just watched too many, not to recognize the repetitive patterns now. It is like there is a time-line for each story line that must correlate to the commercials and interval segments of allotted time between commercials…so as not to run over.
Life doesn’t work like that…yet if we stop any of our own stories before they are complete…our stories turn our differently at different benchmarks.
Mark Nepo shares this concept in a story called: The Boy and the Drummer. (* I had almost forgotten this story…but it is a good one to make us pause and reflect.)
The Boy and the Drum
There is an old Hindu story. In it, there is a boy who wants a drum, but his mother can’t afford a drum, and so, sadly, she gives him a stick. Though he doesn’t know what to do with it, he shuffles home and begins to play with the stick. Just then, he encounters an old woman trying to light her CHULHA, her wood-stove. The boy freely gives her the stick. She lights her fire, makes some bread, and in return she gives him half a loaf.
Walking on, the boy comes upon a potter’s wife whose child is crying from hunger. The boy freely gives her the bread. In gratitude, she gives him a pot.
Though he doesn’t know what to do with it, he carries it along the river, where he sees a washer man and his wife quarreling because the wife broke their one pot. The boy gives them the pot. In return, they give him a coat.
Since the boy isn’t cold, he carries the coat until he comes to a bridge, where a man is shivering. Riding to town on a horse, the man was attacked and robbed of everything but his horse. The boy freely gives him the coat. Humbled, the man gives him his horse.
Not knowing how to ride, the boy walks the horse into town, where he meets a wedding party with musicians. The bridegroom and his family are all sitting under a tree with long faces. According to custom, the bridegroom is to enter the procession on a horse, which hasn’t shown up. The boy freely gives him the horse. Relieved, the bridegroom asks what he can do for the boy. Seeing the drummer surrounded by all his drums, the boy asks for the smallest drum, which the musician gladly gives him.
Didn’t it take a long time for the boy to realize his dream, his wish? Haven’t we all experienced this same kind of wait from a prayer we so earnestly delivered to God for something we wanted or needed?
If the story of the boy and the drum had stopped at any of the earlier intervals in the story…we, the reader, would have been left thinking this was a story of not getting what we want but accepting what we are given, or perhaps witnessing moments of altruism or sacrifice or even the benefits of barter and exchange.
But if we read the entire story and watch it take it full and natural course, like in life…we come to see the most important lesson emerging from the story. And that is: The longer we stay in our story, the more we begin to see how everything fits together and how answering the needs of others is the secret for finding our way through life.
Mark Nepo eloquently concludes:
Often, this courage – to wait and let the fabric of the Universe reveal itself – dissolves our individual sense of ownership into a sense of guardianship over gifts that no one owns. In the larger fabric, gifts rush through the Universe, moving from one place of need to another in a pattern too big to really see, in much the same way that blood rushes to a place of injury in the body.
This humble story, allowed to unfold, lets us recognize that the unexpected gift that comes our way might not be for us. It might be that, like the Hindu boy, we are called to carry it to another. We might be but one exchange along the way and one exchange from realizing how we are all connected.
So until tomorrow…Give us courage God to learn to wait for the end of our request by understanding that while we are waiting…You are at work…and sometimes it takes a little longer for all the variables to connect…but given God’s Time…they will and be revealed to us.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
*And speaking of “reveal” (we haven’t gotten to the last ten minutes of the Hallmark movie)…but quite soon a “revealing” in the Dingle clan just might take place. Stay tuned!
I will share two of the garden’s “revealings” with you. The front yard barrel just gets more beautiful and abundant every single day…while the hostas are beginning to bloom and reflect in the fountain water.