Once in a while, something happens that gives me a new perspective on life. It can be a big event or something small that only lasts a few moments, but it changes everything. I call these “defining moments.”
Years ago, when we were first married–and even before–my husband and I liked to attend what is now called the Battle Creek Air Show and Balloon Festival in Battle Creek, Michigan. During the five-day festival in early July, there is a variety of entertainment, vendors, and, of course, airs show and hot air balloon flights and competitions.
I love hot air balloons. I have a Life List of all the different modes of transportation I have been on. My list includes things like: Antique car, farm tractor, antique steam tractor, row boat, power boat, steam boat, ferry, Mississippi river boat, trains (modern and antique), helicopter, jet, small airplane, horse-drawn wagons and buggies, mule-drawn Conestoga wagon, camel, elephant, and a lot more. One thing I have always, always wanted to ride on is a hot air balloon. One day….
Anyway, I loved to go to the Battle Creek festival just to see all the hot air balloons. And also to see the fireworks. Every year, the festival has fireworks. They are stupendous. Fireworks constantly explode into the air, many at once, with no pauses between like in small towns.
I’ll never forget one year that we spent the whole day at the Festival and then stayed to watch the fireworks. A thunderstorm started moving in, lighting the sky. Thousands of people turned their backs on the beautiful firework display and “ooohed” and “ahhhhed” at each dramatic flash of lightning. I thought with amusement that God still overshadows man’s greatest efforts to “wow.”
Anyway, the defining moment came after the fireworks were over and thousands and thousands of people streamed through a couple of gates to their cars in the parking lot. In the midst of this exodus, a family began to joyfully sing old songs…like Rockin’ Robin.
They sang with joy, seemingly oblivious to the thousands of people around them. We were swept through the gate and at our cars within maybe 5 minutes, but in that five minutes, I was enchanted. And at that moment–that defining moment, that Enchanted Moment–I thought: “I want to be like them.”
The family had no idea that they were my defining moment, but from the moment I heard them sing together, I decided to strive to let my inner “goofy child” out. I had usually kept my silliness hidden because I didn’t want people to think I was being stupid. But the family that night didn’t care who heard them, and I certainly didn’t think they were being too silly. They delighted and inspired me. So why not let myself joyfully live life, not caring that a person or two might frown at my silliness?
I am a quiet, introspective person, and I will probably never have the boldness to sing in a crowd of thousands, but I do let my silliness out more and more. For example, sometimes I have approached the automatic doors at a store, and waved my hand as if I am using the FORCE to open them. I feel like a powerful Jedi when the doors WHOOSH open. And the telephone/cable company in my small town has a camera set up that is pointed outside. The feed from the camera airs on a local TV channel. For some reason, it’s kind of fun to watch people walk by the company. When my son was young, I sometimes told him to watch the TV channel, and then I walked down and acted goofy in front of the camera so he (and anyone else watching the channel) could see me on TV.
When my teenaged son rolls his eyes and says, “Mom, you are so WEIRD!” I always thank him and say, “Good! It is my goal to become an eccentric old lady.” I figure it will take until I am old for my silliness to fully emerge, but I am working on it. When I am an old lady, it is my plan to be something like the lady in this video:
Who knows, maybe someday I will someone else’s enchanting “defining moment.”