What is it about parades?
They make us cheer and clap. Wave at people we don’t know. Bounce to the music. Hope that some of the candy gets thrown our way. And some of us get misty when the nostalgia passes by.
The “professional” parades are OK to watch, right? Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade brings out our inner parade critic from the comfort of our couches. We pick the floats we like best, worry that the girls carrying the flags are going to freeze to death, and wonder who has the money to pay for all of it.
The REALLY COOL parades are the ones that walk down our main streets.
The ones with people we know sitting in the back seat of a convertible with the sign that says, “Dairy Princess.” Pick-ups carrying the “Class of 1965” in its back. Dozens of kids riding their bikes and trikes decorated with colorful streamers with parents walking along the perimeter taking videos. The fire engine spraying water that cools everybody down. The old-time John Deere tractor still putting along with its chimney smoking, followed by the new and massive John Deere machine strutting its stuff. And of course, the hometown marching band filled with musicians who are struggling to walk to the beat because … well … have you tried to walk in a straight line and play a clarinet while your music blows around in 93˚ weather? (And yet, we think it’s the best they’ve ever sounded!)
We don’t ooh-and-aah because the parade is fancy. Or because the floats are perfectly designed. Or because everyone marches in military precision.
We ooh-and-aah because we’re celebrating our friends. We’re cheering for the floats and pick-ups and flatbed trucks that carry people we know and love. We clap for the memories and the community it all represents. We smile and laugh because we see the beauty in the people. The moments. The event.
I was thinking about this over the last few weeks …
What if we looked at every day as a parade?
There’s good stuff happening around us – right in front of us – every day. Things to celebrate and clap for and ooh-and-aah over.
Sometimes it’s the unexpected text or email from that friend who knows just what to say. Or a giggle from the little cherub in the stroller. The helpful clerk in the store who knows where to find the chia seeds. The subtle Midwest greeting using just your pointer finger while keeping the rest of your fingers wrapped around the steering wheel of the pickup.
Or … it’s the colorful flower bed after a fresh rain. The hot summer days with beach towels and the smell of sunscreen. Donuts on Friday. NCIS reruns. Twilight when the weather is cooler and only the toads and crickets and morning doves are talking among themselves.
Life is parade of beautiful moments, people, events, that we can cheer about, clap for, and celebrate.
Let’s watch for those moments that bring joy, gratitude, and giggles. And then lean into them. Not always rushing to the next thing. Taking time – even just seconds – to live in that moment.
I don’t want to miss out on life. I want to experience it. Celebrate it. Clap for it.
Let’s enjoy today’s marvelous parade!