It’s a train station in Belgium, remember it?
Schedules. Scowl lines. Such serious faces.
Then, pouring from the speakers, “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…”
Has there ever been a more beautiful voice?
Julie Andrews singing “Do Re Mi” fills the building and shatters the beige.
A balding man kicks his heels like Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins. A little girl in a pink coat with bright yellow flowers grabs his hand. And the room erupts in dancing.
The beige train station. Erupts in dancing.
Onlookers are confused, uncertain, intrigued.
They pull out cameras. They smile. They are delighted.
God help me, I still cry like a baby every time I watch this video.
My kids ask me why. “Why are you crying, Mom? Don’t you like it?”
This was the first flash mob video I ever saw. I remember watching it over and over, weeping and thinking, “My God, we could be doing anything with our time. Humans. Human beings. We could be doing anything with our time.”
I cried because all I could think as I watched was that we fight wars and scream at each other and drive too fast to the mall like it matters, but we could be spending our time doing anything.
We could be dancing. In yellow flowers. Doing anything.
Shattering the beige.
In culture, we are bound in some ways to certain things. We have to eat and wear clothes. We need a house to live in, a place to lay our heads. And we have to pay for these things. I get it.
But the beige, oh God, the suffocating beige. The loneliness. The wondering if anyone sees. If anyone is connected to anyone else. Is it ever safe to really share? Is it ever safe to be silly and laugh out loud?
To just sit on the floor for once. To roll in the grass after a certain age. To wear sequins in the sunlight. To walk over and touch a stranger, just because, you can see the hurt from where you sit a few tables away.
To feel and share perfect love.
This week I have witnessed so much love. I have gotten to be a part of so much love.
How many times have I heard the verse “it is more blessed to give than receive?” And yet, how often I doubt.
Sometimes when I feel an urgency to give sacrificially, I have a hesitation. It’s not that I don’t want to give, but I am not always sure it’s going to work out.
Where will the money come from? Will the kids eat beans and rice so I can give an extravagant gift? How will I make the time–another day without a shower? How will it be received? Will it be a waste? Will it be awkward?
Sometimes, my mind is occupied with other things, and the giving seems small and unimportant. Acts of kindness fall to the side, not as important as the day’s to do list.
But, when I give, the rushing and stressed humanity around me slows. Smiles. Exhales. Laughs. Relaxes. The atmosphere changes to joy, to peace.
The beige is shattered. Light comes in.
Just like in that train station. I think a lot of people missed their trains that day. But, those details find a way of working out when our hearts are full.
I got to see a glimpse of perfect love this week. Not my own, but Perfect Love, a still small voice nudging me, saying, “stop by and see this one, take this one a little gift, put this letter in the mail, throw this little party.”
I tried to cooperate, but I didn’t really know how any of it would work out or what it would mean.
Sometimes, I second-guess giving or acts of kindness. Even up until that moment I happen to look over and see the person quietly weeping, so touched to be thought of, so touched to be worth the time and put on someone’s mind. Remembered by Him. Seen by Him. Touched by Him.
And, in that moment, my own heart feels as if it could burst. I thought I was giving to them?
And I am receiving so much. Self pity and complaining and boredom fall away when I get to be a part of the exhilerating anything.
Thank you God that you speak to us. Thank you God for the grace to obey. Thank you that we can spend our time doing anything. Anything.
Help us to choose wisely.
Because, the blessing is even greater when we give. And the love makes us bigger inside than we are without it. We grow in love, and the love strikes down the fears a little at a time.
How can you shatter someone’s beige today–and your own? A little gift? A card? A coffee?
A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Prov 11:25
Remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35