I put a chandelier in the laundry room this week.
Well, actually, Husband put it up.
That’s what it is. Whimsy.
Basement laundry rooms are places of damp and dark and rough unfinishedness. Furnaces, tanks, and ducts. The underbelly of the house. Practical without any flash. A room of work…there’s not a lot of leisure time in the laundry room…the laundry room is the underappreciated, unsung-hero room of the house…and definitely not glamorous.
Husband, as an act of pure love towards me, has drywalled this room and put in flooring. It’s becoming beautiful. The Junior Tribe Members are teasing my desire to have a serene, beautified space for laundry.
The crowning touch of the room is a second hand repurposed chandelier from the ReStore. It’s fresh and white, elegant and effective. It surprises and brings delight by shining its light in a beautiful way. Folks smile when they see it there.
I like the idea of smiling in the laundry room.
The laundry room is a metaphor of how I want to live life.
To bring a beauty to the dark and dreary and hurtful places of the world I come in contact with.
Bob talks about the value of whimsy…not a silly whimsy that is foolish for it’s own sake, but a holy joy that takes chances and does wild and absurd things to make a difference in this world. Bob’s office is Tom Sawyer’s picnic table at Disneyland, he helps his kids write letters to world leaders, he sailed the Pacific Ocean for days with his friends and a bunch of canned meat, and he loves to pull pranks on his friends. Oh, and he is also a lawyer that prosecutes really bad guys in Uganda, and frees children that have languished in prisons for years for no good reason. He loves whimsy.
Because, you see, when you choose to be whimsical in a situation, you connect with others.
Whimsy creates connection.
Joy connects people. And connection between people enhances relationship. And when you enhance a relationship, you can change the world of someone..and if enough people have their world changed, then the whole world will change.
Like last Sunday. I took a Junior Tribe Member to the airport to go back to his university after a weekend home. His school had booked the ticket for Monday. The computer wouldn’t let him check in a day early–and that’s when he realized the error. So he went to talk to the WestJet agent: Cat helped him.
Cat could have scolded him that he didn’t see the error sooner and made him feel bad about it.
Or Cat could have just taken care of the issue in an efficient and professional manner, changing the ticket and charging him the fee, hardly making eye contact, and mechanically wishing him a great flight as a stiff benediction to the transaction.
But what Cat really did is have fun with us. She joked with him about the computer not working and taking time. Cat marvelled at the computer somehow charging us $20 less than what she thought it should be. She asked her colleague about where to sign the receipt, and somehow they ended up deciding she should sign his forehead with her left hand backwards.
When I thanked her for being so kind and gracious, she asked me to tell her mom. I told her to tell her mom how thrilled, Carolyn was with her for service, and that Cat’s mom should be proud of her. She blushed, just a little.
And then she said that we were having so much fun, she found a way to bump him up a class for one leg of his journey as long as someone else didn’t purchase the seat.
Pure whimsy…she turned a frustration into fun…and we left connected with Cat and we left connected with WestJet.
She got the job done, yes…but much more, she gave us a meaningful human interaction. She created a relationship with us.
I think the next time WestJet goofs (and we all goof sometimes)…we will be a little more understanding of them. Because of Cat, we are inclined to think WestJet are good people.
Whimsy takes chances to be kind even while it does the stuff of life. (and I’m guessing Cat’s day was more fun, too)
Whimsy goes out of its way, not out of duty, but out of fun and delight: What happens when we have some fun here with brightening someone’s day?
Whimsy doesn’t take itself so seriously…it is playful and creative. Sending an appreciative text to your spouse in the middle of a tiff or affirming your boss even when you’re all racing towards a stressful deadline is one quirky, vulnerable, brave form of whimsy.
- is bringing a smile of empathy and connection into a dark place…not by “jollying it up” but by going in there and making a difference
- loves people in ridiculous ways…in ways that recognizes their inherent value, not according to “what they deserve”
- does life in a way that recognizes your own inherent value
- is looking at the fellow on the corner who wants money in the eye, and stopping to greet him and ask about his day–letting him know that you see him as a real person
- is popping a card in the mail to a friend who is struggling…just to let them know that you care.
Melanie brought a new doorstop for our office this week:
Every time I walk into the office, it reminds me of Bergen and Associates Counselling’s purpose: to connect deeply with our clients in a fresh way. To bring a holy curiosity, a fresh perspective, and a kindness to each client. We play with metaphors, look at a new way to understand a story of pain, or just simply sit compassionately in a space of struggle with a client. I’d like Bergen and Associates Counselling to be a haven of profound whimsy.
Bob Goff talks of the value of whimsy…and how it has taken him to places of risk and adventure and fun. It has freed kids from prison, and helped him to become an advocate for an entire country. His faith in Jesus is a big part of that whimsy for him…it starts as his core value and inspires him to love actively. His faith inspires a playful service, not a drudgery of toil. Take a peek into his experience of whimsy?
Yesterday, my chandelier of whimsy reminded me to create a “mini date” for a JTM and his fiancee. They are students who work hard and have little money for fancy dates. We put out some cheese and bread and olives and meat on a cheese board. Put out some carbonated fruit juice and some wine glasses. Lit a candle and put out some napkins. And went to bed with a pretty table set out for them for when they came in.
The chandelier at home, and the toothpaste door stop at work will be gentle reminders to me to bring a whimsy to the lives of others. Life can get hard, and when I take myself and my work too seriously, I start to get tired and worn out. And that, I think, makes me less effective…and I certainly enjoy life less.
Whimsy creates a holy fun that makes my own life richer when I go about my life…when I work from a place of whimsy, it makes loving others fun for me, rather than work for me.