We Had a Happening


Last night, I couldn’t help but thinking I have the life I’d always dreamed of. To be clear, the elements of this dream life do not include many of the things you might imagine.

We have stumbled into a life more organic. Used cars. Backyard chickens. Root cellars. Rummage sales. And plenty of good people. And you can say what you will about living an intentional life and realizing your dreams, most of which I would agree with.

But then there’s dumb luck. Happenstance. Coincidence. Serendipity. And a word I’d like to think I created (but probably didn’t)…randomivity. As I write this, I am struck by how fun those words are to SAY, let alone delight in their meaning.

Last night was a culmination of so many relationships developed over time and seasons of life… A very talented Milwaukee folk singer, Lil Rev, accompanied by his wife and five year old daughter, visited for a house concert. Rev brought, and played, a veritable buffet of instruments….guitars, ukuleles, harmonicas, shakers and a MOUNTAIN DULCIMER!

Rev plays old songs, Yiddish tunes, spirituals as well as his own material. He engages his audience – regardless of age or talent. So at 7:30 PM, when faced with a circus of 10 kids who wanted to move their little bodies and make Rev their audience, he made them an offer they couldn’t refuse and became the pied piper.

Rev’s harmonica became a train whistle, and he stood with his guitar to entrance the room with playful melodies and animated gesticulations.

That was the moment. That was the moment wherein I realized I was living a fantasy life. As I looked around our 110 year old living room, I contentedly absorbed all of the love. Childhood friends. Family. Coworkers. Neighbors. Children and babies – little ones that arrived in recent years after much prayer and excitement, including our own son.

And you know what? No one was looking at their smartphone or tablet. The only reason these devises were brought out intermittently throughout the evening was to capture a piece of the magic on film.

A house concert is intimate, if nothing else. You are squashed next to people on the couch that you’ve never met. You thank the stranger next to you for bringing the crisp white wine or the seasoned pecans. The world gets a little smaller, and a little happier. After the concert, our friend Paul even reflected on feeling younger after the whole experience.

Earlier that day, in preparing for the concert, and talking with our friend Laura, she said, “You’re having what we used to call in the 60’s a ‘happening’.”

So fun. A throwback event to community.  Interconnectedness. Music. Joy and laughter. Engaging children instead of shoving them in front of a TV in another room.

Let it be known that this music – of instruments and friendship – will always play on the adventurecraft. As will serendipity…