My kiddo had a music lesson scheduled.
It was a reschedule, on a day that normally wouldn’t have worked, but something else was cancelled last minute. Everything fell into place. Traffic was light, and we had time to stop off for coffee, and still arrive with plenty of time.
In the small walk-up waiting room, painted in a brilliant green, there’s a wooden pew along the back wall. Over the years, this has felt like sanctuary space. My daughter and I took two familiar chairs.
Sitting in my normal spot against one side wall, I looked directly across to the other side. Opposite me sat a vibrant woman I haven’t seen in two years, whom I’d only known a short while even then.
I recognized her immediately. When I called out her name, she greeted me with delight, as if I’d only seen her the day before.
I read this as a message to pay attention.
We recounted the story of our meeting at a retreat. We’d sat in a circle reading poems. That experience—those poems—had changed both our lives.
After we embraced and I shared my business card and she noted her love of my beautiful green—three times—my friend told a very intentional story.
It was exactly the story I needed to hear. About letting ourselves play. Specifically, about clowning classes she’d taken just because someone had asked her. How she showed up and played. And how the clown doesn’t know he’s the fool. When something doesn’t work, instead of shrinking inward and hiding, the clown turns towards the audience.
And at this my friend paused and looked directly at me. In her gaze I felt completely calm.
The clown doesn’t have to be in on the joke. Knowing this makes everything possible. Such as delightful surprises.
Whew. What a sermon. And in case I wasn’t paying attention, her son came out of his lesson, a delightfully energetic boy who pressed a small green button into my palm. It had a sunflower and the words, “Seek His Light.”
After they packed up and left, my daughter asked what time her lesson was, and we realized, to my dismay, that we’d lost track of the time. It was half an hour past her appointment and furthermore, our teacher was teaching at her house, several blocks away. I rushed us right over.
Our teacher was delighted to see us. And teaching another lesson. Turns out I’d misread her messages. We weren’t scheduled that day.
But I received the message intended for me.