A Beautiful Problem

“When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”

–R. Buckminster Fuller

Tell me about a problem you had to solve, one that had an elegant or beautiful solution.

3 thoughts on “A Beautiful Problem”

  1. While in church a few weeks ago, Chris, one of the members and a good friend, walked up to me and my wife after service and posed a question. “Are you guys doing anything tomorrow?”

    Questions like that tend to put me on the defensive. Am I going to be asked out to dinner or does someone need help moving? I certainly don’t mind the dinner invitations, but my arthritis makes me less than enthusiastic about moving days, including my own. In a reserved tone, I answered, “Not anything special.”

    Chris continued, “my daughter, Dreama Lynn, is having grandparent’s day at school and her Pop Pop and Me Maw live too far away to attend. I was wondering if you would like to be grandparents for the day”

    Ruth and I both answered simultaneously with an enthusiastic “Yes.” Dreama Lynn is an absolutely adorable child, and we were excited at the opportunity to spend some time with her. The plan was that she would not be told we were coming and would hopefully be happy and surprised to see us.

    We arrived at the school the next day and were gathered into the gym along with a crowd of other social security recipients. I have never seen so many canes and walkers in one place. I felt like I was in a high school reunion for folks who graduated in the forties. We sat on the bleachers making small talk with the others, at least the ones who could still hear as we waited for the children to arrive. As they were marched through the gym in single file, the grandparents would join their grandchildren and proceed to the lunch room. It was heartwarming to see the children’s excitement at having their grandparents in school.

    I couldn’t help but think what it would be like to be six years old and in that line where everyone was laughing, sharing hugs with family, and to be the only one alone. The thought of it is a heartbreaker. We were not about to let that happen.

    We weren’t sure how Dreama would react at seeing us. We were, after all, friends from church and not blood relatives. As the classes walked through in single file, we spotted little Dreama near the end of the line. As we started across the gym, she spotted us. For a moment, she stood in disbelief and confusion. I pointed my finger at her and smiled indicating that we were there for her and her alone. She bolted out of the line and jumped into my arms with one the biggest most beautiful smiles I have ever seen. Our hearts melted all over the gymnasium floor. Then she quickly jumped down to hug Ruth.

    We walked through the line hand in hand, with me on one side and my wife on the other. We got our trays and ate at tiny little tables. We talked and laughed about everything under the sun, Near the end I made a paper rose from one of the napkins and handed it to Dreama. She admired it for a second or two and then bolted off to present it to who I assumed was her teacher. She returned satisfied she had made her teachers day. There must be a wonderful unselfish caring place in the heart of six-year old’s where angels go to refresh them self. If not in all six your old’s, most defiantly in this one. I then did a few magic tricks with coins to round out the visit. The time came to say goodbye, and we parted with hugs and kisses. Ruth and I made the commitment to repeat this day of being honorary grandparents as many times as we can.

    Life has its ups and downs and sometimes it has moments that you hold on to for a lifetime, this was one such moment. Thank You Dreama Lynn.

    I Hope as you go through life you don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life and fill it with precious memories.

    1. What a lovely story. Thank you once again Phil for your ability to transmit an experience into a wonderful vignette. At least I can appreciate the writing of others. I am continually amazed at the Bravery and Honesty of those willing to expose their vulnerabilities as we go through life searching to better ourselves in our quest to achieve peace Within.

      My beautiful problem began the moment I learned of my
      first great grandchild’s impending birth. I went into anxiety mode due to my progressive health issues. How would I be able to relate to this precious soul? With failing strength,
      would I even be able to hold my new great-grandchild?

      Today I am facing and overcoming these fears. My little guy is insistent that his GiGi sits next to him when the kids come pick me up for whatever. They always want to sit me up front, being kind, but my little Zachariah lets us know by fussing and pointing next to him saying “GiGi”. I’ve been teaching him silly little songs that have re-emerged from my subconscious. Don’t even know where this comes from: “ooh eeh. Ooh ah ah, bing bang, walla walla bing bang” and then a second chorus.

      To climb in the backseat and see how excited my little Z-man (as I have lovingly dubbed him since his debut on the world’s stage) is so excited cuz he wants to sing this silly little ditty with me gives me such joy! He’s 18 months now and just been talking a few months. He’s up to “walla walla” and when he surprised me with that, it sent me over the moon!

      My little Eliana Rose is right behind him in age and is also walking and talking. Ellie walks as unsteady as me so we have great fun as I pretend I’m chasing her. We actually squeal with joyful happiness. There is such freedom in expressing joy with children!

      So in spite of it all, I realize how very blessed I am with nothing to fear! Our tribe continues to grow and I am looking forward to 2 more great grandbabies (December and March).

      The rhythm of life is awesome!!

    2. What a sweet story, Phil. I’ve got a five year old granddaughter and I know how precious and sweet they can be. Sounds like your pinch hitting definitely paid off for everyone involved.

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