A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts

An African Tribal Saying states, “The person who is not hungry says that the coconut has a hard shell.”

I thought I loved coconut until I ate a fresh one from the store.  I was disappointed because the milk is fairly bland, and the coconut is not flaky.  I decided that I really liked processed coconut instead.  Bring on all the sugar and preservatives!

I love fireworks.  I was usually the first in line on the first, second, and third days they went on sale in July and December.  I got firecrackers and sparklers for the boy…but for me….I loved those mortars.  I bought them by the case.  We had enough for the holiday…and then would shoot some off periodically between.

This story is from when Justin was about 6 years old…

Well one day,  Justin decided the time had come to set off our hidden stash of fireworks.  He has always loved the “big boom” and the huge fanning displays.  The first few minutes Justin sat patiently on the porch as I set off fountains and the other ground stuff.  Apparently he “missed me” so much that he had to sit by me as I started launching the aerial shells.  I would ignite the fuse and lean over so the embers would not blow on me.  Then, we would watch as the mortar exploded painting the night with beautiful colors. 

   This was great fun until somehow the tube fell over just before launch…..with me and the boy sitting about a foot away….with the tube aimed directly at us!!!  I righted the tube just as fire bellowed from the end.  When I quit screaming like a scared little school girl, I decided then and there that sitting so close to something that could turn my gizzards into  a gourmet fried dish for the local buzzards was no fun….and probably not the best idea to keep one Mary Deason happy with me!!! I counted to make sure we still had my ten fingers and toes, packed up the remaining artillery shells, and called it a night.

   Sometimes I do not think about how close the danger is in my life.  One false move would cause major damage.  While repairable, the healing process would take lots of time and might hurt worse than the initial injury.  I figure that is why Iquit going to Church for a little bit some years ago.  I just didn’t care and became a little selfish.  After completing Paramedic School 9 years ago, my marriage was heading towards divorce as my selfish desires to earn money and “get toys” had me working 120 or more hours a week.  I cared more for acquiring coconuts than actually eating coconuts. (I still work  a lot… but there is difference today…Mary and I get along quite well.  Heck, sometimes, I am pretty sure she likes me, too.  I make time for Mary and the boy….and we DO lots of stuff together.)

  One day, a wise Church leader challenged me to “eat those coconuts.”  Without this great save by this loving man, I would have been lost.  This has been a tough challenge…to figure out how to find balance between “getting the coconuts, keeping the coconuts, and and being able to eat those coconuts!” 

Years ago, I was the Activities Chairman for our congregation.  We had 40% of people on the roll not coming to Church on Sundays.  The Pastor asked me to find ways to “get them there and fellowship them.”  I had a simple strategy— plan game nights, karaoke parties, hay rides, potluck dinners. and more…but very few of these activities were at the Church.  I even had the audacity have “the targets” help plan an activity. Our little congregation had whole bunches of stuff going on.  I figured that I needed to plan more activities to keep everyone (including the “Active” Church members) busy giving away their coconuts instead of hording them like a bunch of squirrels.  To steal a line from a song, “We’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts lined up in a row.”  But really, the person who benefitted most was me!!!  I became invested and became a better person more than anyone else…

That is how it is in life…The more we give away part of ourselves, the more we get back.  So really, that just means more coconut to eat for ME!!!  (Maybe I am just a little selfish sometimes still….and somehow, I am cool with that…especially if it means more pie!!!!)

One Response to “A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts”
  1. Bridget Fowler says:

    The African saying is intended to make you think of how hungry you are, either for the coconut milk or the coconut meat, the lazy man says that the coconut is hard, the hungry man knows with some hard work opening the coconut will pay off. I like what you say about selfishness, it take a great deal of VERY HARD WORK to keep a marriage off the rocks, to keep your relationship with God, to know that your child or children are the most precious gift.

    Thanks for your good works and words, Aaron.


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