The Clay County Fair will begin in two weeks! The fairgrounds is an increasingly busy hub of activity as the day draws near. People have various thoughts on the Clay County Fair:
-- Oh I hate it! It's noisy, and dusty, and concerts and the fireworks drive my pets crazy. ... I don't like the greasy food -- I don't need to eat anything on a stick for heaven's sake -- I am trying to reduce fried foods in my diet, and I always buy something I don't need!
-- Or (and I am in this category): I love the fair! The look on the kids' faces, the free stuff, the livestock, the people, the food -- I know right where I am headed for my favorite when I get there -- you know, the healthy stuff (wink wink). ... I enjoy the people, the relationships, the free entertainment! Learning something new! There's always a comedian or an a capella group. ... I always find something to buy. ... I wonder what the new hot item will be this year.
I believe we were created with a couple of empty spaces inside us -- a God-shaped vacuum and a community/relationship-shaped vacuum. Those empty spaces can only be truly filled by God and by community and relationships. Filling emptiness creates wholeness!
At the fair I can wonder at the creation -- from the people to the animals, to the creativity seen in the 4-H building, the art barn, and on the stages. And thank God for it! At the fair I can be reminded of the variety of people in this world, and our varied tastes in music, food, clothing, etc. At the fair, if I let myself, I can pause and take in the beauty and wonder of the relationships I can see around me -- couples who have been to the fair for years and years, and others taking it in for the first time. Little ones perhaps starting a tradition of going to the fair with their mom and dad -- and those parents keeping an eye on their little one in order to keep them safe while they discover wonders of life hand in hand. Will that young fair goer become a music maker, a farmer, a baker, a magician, an artist, an entrepreneur, and might one of the first steps in that journey be happening right before my eyes? And for me, all of these wonders to consider -- they connect me to God and to other people, to my community. They bring wholeness to my life.
If you are a fair goer -- I hope you will pause and reflect and thank God for what is going on around you -- the joys, the laughter, the commerce, the care for one another, the relationships, the signs of community.
If you don't care for the fair, I hope you will also pause and reflect and thank God for what is going on around you -- the fair is certainly not the only place or time to reflect on the joys, laughter, commerce, care, relationships and signs of community.
And may you be grasped by the grace and love of God as you watch, wonder, and wander through the fair and through God's world!