I was out with friends for dinner on Cinco de Mayo and a woman showed up fully dressed as a piñata. At first I giggled at the extreme nature of her outfit, and then I marveled in her joy. I decided to approach the woman and I said, “I love your festive outfit. I love that you are doing this. You obviously have lots of joy and I think it’s fantastic that you are sharing it with all of us. It’s so great to see someone living their best and biggest life to the fullest and not holding back.” Her response was a genuine smile and then she gave me a hug and thanked me for coming to talk to her. Turns out that she had won a costume contest on St. Patrick’s Day and because she had so much fun, it inspired her to dress up on Cinco de Mayo too. I asked her if she made the costume herself and she said she had bought it on Amazon, but then she said she couldn’t find a costume contest to go to, so she wore it anyway!
As we continued to talk, she thanked me for coming over to talk to her and she said that since she’s a piñata and since I came to see her, that she had candy to give me…just like a real piñata! She then opened a drawstring bag filled with treats! I picked out a piece of candy, took a photo with her, and went on my way. We both walked away with big smiles. I don’t have her permission to post her photo online, nor do I even know her name, but if you’ll stop me in the hall on a Sunday morning, then I’ll be more than happy to show you our actual photo from that night.
I tell this story to say that as we quickly roll into Vacation Bible School season, I’m filled with both excitement, anxiety, and overwhelm. Those emotions frequently show up together at the same time for me. I have lots of excitement for the week of VBS to be here and excitement for the kiddos to arrive. I also have anxiety and overwhelm about how in the world we are going to get it all done and ready! There are many days that it is difficult to move past the anxiety and overwhelm. I’m wondering if maybe my mantra for those challenging days should be something like: “Don’t worry, just be a piñata!”
I don’t know the woman’s full story to know how much courage it took for her to decide to go out in public dressed as a piñata and hand out candy to strangers. I don’t know what her friends thought about what she was doing (none of them were dressed in costume). I just know that my first reaction was laughter and joy and I was drawn to have a conversation with her. I was able to connect with her (a complete stranger) because of her joy and boldness and I’m very thankful for that. I was inspired by her actions and I loved the opportunity to visit with her.
I know that I’ve seen stories before of people spreading joy by going for walks in their neighborhoods in inflatable unicorn or dinosaur costumes. One of my favorite stories is about a man in Melbourne, Australia who has been carrying around a giant carrot for years just because it makes people smile and brings them joy. It’s seriously a great story: “Carrot Man” Story & Video >>
I don’t exactly know all the places that God showed up in my encounter with the piñata lady, but I DO know that sharing joy in our world is something that is so badly needed. So, I wish you an over-the-top summer full of over-the-top things that help you move past the overwhelm and anxiety, things that get you deeper into the excitement of life. I hope you even get to meet a piñata one day! So, let’s all go out and bless others by sharing joy and watch for ways that others are blessing us with their joy!
Psalm 118:24: This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.