Broek in Wonderland

Broek in Wonderland is inspired by a trip to a lovely, remote town outside of Amsterdam in the Netherlands that encompasses who I strive to be.

My mom’s favorite Bible verse is the passage found in Matthew 6 beginning with “consider the lilies of the field”. It talks about not worrying about tomorrow and remaining present. If the lilies don’t have to worry about when the rain will come or when the sun will come up, we as humans do not need to worry about tomorrow.

The challenge is to remain in the present and allow the wind to blow you wherever it may lead. You can chose to dance like no one is watching. You can always feel free to be yourself. You can extend yourself grace when you fall. And whenever I encounter others, I want their experience to be the same- I want them to feel free to dance, be who they truly are, and extend grace to them.

During my time in the small town called “Broek in Waterland” just outside of Amsterdam, I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful Dutch lady. I was walking around the cemetery- one of my favorite places to go when exploring a historic city. She was there trimming the bushes on a grave (of whom I found out later to belong to her deceased husband). The cemetery was backed by a community garden overlooking wide-open fields and a river that separated this quaint town to the bustle of cars rushing their way into the city of Amsterdam. My time in cemeteries usually consist of reading the names off of the headstone and picturing them in my mind. Typically, the pictures are of them at the prime age of 32 years-old smiling alongside a family that loved them. They’re in the backyard playing fetch with their dog while burgers are cooking on the grill- it sure is interesting how everyone defines true happiness. Then I am approached by the lovely Dutch woman. She does not speak a lick of English, and I do not speak a lick of Dutch. Nevertheless, our encounter consisted of exaggerated hand motions and lots of smiles. She explained to me that her husband and best friend are buried there and are shaded by a tree that was transplanted from their home to create shade for visitors when they came.

Happiness is not found at 32 years-old in the backyard playing fetch with your dog while thoughtfully considering whether you want cheddar cheese or american cheese on your burger. Happiness is found at the intersection. See, life is consisted of several moments of intersection, some may call them encounters or relationships with others. Some intersections are good and some are bad. Some intersections are momentary, some are temporary, and some last a lifetime. Life is about learning how to not hold on too tightly but finding happiness in the midst of that intersection. This husband and best friend decided that their earthly current intersection was to create shade for their family. My intersection with this lovely woman was full of smiles and inspired me to be confident in my individuality and to encourage others, during our intersection, to embrace their identity as well.

I long to not hold on too tightly. To dance in the confidence of who I am. To invite others during our intersection to find freedom in their owned individuality. To provide shade during times of intersection when one is mourning. To extend myself grace and allow myself to move forward in growth.

If I were a landscape, I would be a field of wildflowers. A field of wildflowers Broek in Wonderland.

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