Tim Benjamin’s article for the Evening Leader on August 19
I know there isn’t much that we all can agree on, but I believe that there is one thing that all of us can agree on without too much controversy. Life is weird sometimes. I feel like I get a reminder of just how weird life is just about every day.
So, my latest realization of the weirdness of life came to me as we were wrapping up Summerfest last weekend. I was reflecting on my experience of being at Summerfest and how much time I had spent in the park. With all due apologies to the vendors, I spent a grand total of $20 at Summerfest this year. I registered for the 5K (which was a very organized and well-executed event) and bought 2 ducks for the race. No one called me about my two ducks, so I am assuming that my ducks and I ran at the same pace…
Why didn’t I spend any more money at the Summerfest? Well, I don’t eat fried food, I don’t drink, I was too big for the rides and I am a vegetarian. There wasn’t much for me to spend money on! Yet, I was at Summerfest Friday night for a few hours, most of the day Saturday and almost all day on Sunday – after church of course. I spent all of that time and, as I write this article, I can’t wait for next year. Even though none of the stuff that was offered at Summerfest appealed to me, I had a great time. I collected school supplies in the parade, watched kids from my church ride rides, helped lead a community service at noon on Sunday and sold sausage sandwiches for Candy Dicke and the Family Life Center’s Pork Barn. I got to talk to a whole bunch of people, hear some great music from start to finish; the biggest thing I realized is just how good I felt about all of us here in the St Marys community.
Thank you to everyone who got out to enjoy the beautiful weather and build some real community at Summerfest. It was a great time to come together. It wasn’t about all of the stuff to spend money on, it was about having time to sit in the shade and enjoy our friends and neighbors. Events like this are good for our community and thanks to everyone who was involved in any way. It is awesome to be able to come together in this way.
That is why life is so weird. When considering whether or not to go to Summerfest, we mainly thought about what there was to do while we were there, one of the main factors in our decisions. That is what I considered. But as I sit here writing this article on the Monday morning after Summerfest, it isn’t the stuff to do I remember. I remember the people I spoke to and the conversations I got to have. I remember heaving those four full-to-overflowing-with-school-supplies shopping carts down to Agape after the parade. It was about people from Wayne Street UMC walking in the parade and making a vital connection with our community. It was about people coming together to pray for our town at noon on Sunday. These are examples of what makes communities healthy and strong.
And here I sit on Monday morning, after all of that work of Summerfest, I am looking forward to spending half of this week setting up for the next big event, which is this Saturday – a little music festival known as Waynestock. I get to make a contribution to this concert – help set up the stage and carry a bunch of heavy stuff so that actually talented musicians can do what they do best. I am convinced that life is at its best when it is the most weird.