It’s not a job. Nope. It is not a degree posted on the wall or a ripe crop in the field. It isn’t the size of your farm or the success of your business. Nope. It is, in fact, something much larger. It is the most important part of your existence on this planet. What is it?
The last weekend of every July, Loren’s brother Larry and his wife Debi host the Chehalem Mountain Art Affair. Far from being a craft show, it is a group of well-known artists who set up booths in a forest and sit for two days listening to nature and meeting new people and old friends who stop by. This was their 16th year.
We got to the log house set in the woods where paths were laid out for the vendors. Artists unloaded their beautiful creations, and I silently shopped in my mind. Handmade jewelry, beautiful weavings, carved clay creations, potters and painters. Loren and I got busy setting up the grids that would hold his beautiful photography. We have learned much over the last three years. It was essential to blend his art with the trees and ferns that surrounded us. We brought extra chairs for old friends and, hopefully, new friends. With our lunches packed and bug traps around us, we settled in for two days. Our booth is located across from the wine deck. Seems people like to linger there and our walk is short.
Friends did come and stay. And, as customers came by, they settled in as well. Was looking like next year we would need more chairs and more area cleared. Newcomers became new friends. Some we met for only a few minutes but long enough to exchange information and hope for more time in the future to get to know one another. The silence of the forest surrounded all of us and by the feel in the air and in the people, we absorbed it and treasured it. Constantly, we were reminded of how precious the trees and plants are to our lives. Essential to our lives.
We learn every day, don’t we? We learn new ways of doing old things. For if we refuse to learn, we refuse to grow. So what did I learn this weekend. Well, nothing new really, but maybe I was awakened once more to the importance of sharing gifts. Not possessions. Gifts.
You and I, we all have gifts. It isn’t what we own or what we add to our lives. It is what we are born with already built in. Ah, I can hear you now, “But I don’t have any gifts.” Wrong. We are created like puzzle pieces. If one piece is broken or missing, nothing else can complete the puzzle. You can try to carve a new piece, but you will never match the original, and you are an original.
Yes, artists find their outlet. Their gifts sing with their own voices. As I grow older I often hear, “I wish I had…..”. What? Danced, sang, written, yodeled or perhaps built a structure unlike any other. You have a gift. God gave it to you. You are the puzzle piece that fits with mine and everyone else’s in this world. You are the creature that was put here to be part of the entire creation of people and of the earth itself.
So what is the most important part of your existence? Oh, dear ones, plain and simple. You.