So here’s installment #28* of Questions Nobody Is Asking Me but Probably Would Have If They Thought of It:
Q: Why do you deliver flowers?
don’t get asked this a lot by passers-by on the street: “Hey, what is a pastor-type dude like you doing, delivering flowers?” Of course, they don’t realize they have answered their own question. (What am I doing? Delivering flowers.)
But seriously, folks…
Do I need the money? Who doesn’t? Sure, that feeds into why I took on extra work; but it isn’t specifically why I chose to deliver flowers. Although I’m paid above the average rate for what I do, there are still other things I could be doing that pay more, or give me more hours. But when I’ve wanted extra cash, I’ve gravitated to flower delivery for years. I sought it out on purpose.
There are actually several things feeding into the answer to this question…
First…it ties in to something I said in this previous post about being “awake.” I talked about how my son, while working his part-time job, observed how many people are caught in the rut of doing a job they hate, because they need the money–but they never actually get motivated enough to make a change. Their life isn’t what they wanted it to be, but for better or worse, this rut has become their comfort zone.
Second…it ties in to a theme that’s been running in my family now for several years, a strong desire to live this life God has given us, not just exist in it while waiting for something “better” to come along. This desire and commitment has really been causing all of us to look at the things we do from a different lens.
Third…it ties in to the recent understanding that when living in a missional way, “Father’s business” is really much larger than things having to do with vocational ministry. When we create, when we inspire, when we encourage, when we build, when we give, when we help, and so much more…when we do lifegiving things, we are participating in Father’s business. And that happens in our day-to-day, and to some extent within most occupations our dualistic mindsets classify as “secular.” Although I have no problem with “full-time ministry”, I recognize that ministry was never meant to be an exclusive profession, or even just “spiritual”, church-based activity . Ministry happens as we go.
But even further back than these understandings, there was still a seed that drew me to this particular thing of delivering flowers…a cheesy romance movie I saw long ago called Bed of Roses. (Yes, I watch romantic comedies; deal with it. Guys, you should try it sometime; chicks dig it.)
In the movie, the female lead is attracted to a shy guy delivering flowers for a successful flower business, but categorizes him as a bit of a slacker for having such a low-paying job. Then she comes to find out he actually owns the business, and delivers the flowers himself. When asked why, he tells her, in essence, about the joy he feels in the moment when he shows up at someone’s door with flowers–the look on their face, the fact that he is making people happy. This one thing is the profound and simple passion behind his chosen profession. He’s not hung up with how it looks for him to be the “delivery boy”–he doesn’t even care about it. His whole business ethic is about bringing joy to people, and watching it that looks like when he does.
That was such a cool idea to me, and I never forgot it. It made me want to be a flower delivery guy. No kidding. So years later, when I was hard up for cash…even though at the time the job didn’t really pay me enough…when a flower shop delivery job was advertised, I took it. And I loved it. And now whenever I want extra work, that’s the first place I look. I’ve worked at no less than four flower shops, and on occasion I’ve worked for two different shops at once.
Now, that doesn’t mean flower shops are automatically the happiest places to work. No illusions there. Believe it or not, there are people in those shops who are caught in the same rut of dismal existence, and ironically, flower shop owners can potentially be as grumpy and cantankerous as anyone else you might meet. Thankfully, that’s not the case where I’m working now; the work environment is (mostly) happy, the owners are generous, and the people working there seem to genuinely like their work, and their bosses. So this tells me it isn’t just what you do, what kind of job you have…it also has to do with if you’re doing the job for the right reasons–how you do the job.
So, bottom line…to answer this question most of you probably weren’t asking…I deliver flowers for these basic reasons:
- I am good at it. I am good with navigation, so I’m good at finding addresses.
- I need the money. (I’m not going to lie and pretend I’m all doing this from pure benevolent motives. Hey, it’s life!)
- It keeps me active, which is something I need right now for sure.
- I truly enjoy what I do. I like to drive, I like to find addresses, I like smiley-faced people. (Which is why when I work for a “grumpy” shop, I try to be out driving as much as possible.) 😀
- It’s a job that, to me, is a true extension of “Father’s business”. I bless people when I bring them flowers–I surprise them, I bring them messages of love, I bring them comfort when a loved one has passed on. And I form living relationships with the people I work with.
- But all of this really feeds into one deep motivation for why I choose to do this instead of something else right now…I get a kick out of making people happy. And this is a great job for that kind of thing.
For some, delivering flowers may seem to be one of those menial, “servant-class” jobs. For the consummate pragmatist, they might not see the value of giving cut flowers to someone, since the flowers will die in a few days. But for me, that’s just the point. Flowers make people happy, and that’s worth the money spent. (And if some of it gets in my pocket, that’s cool, too.) Like the woman wasting the alabaster jar of ointment on Jesus, there is a deeper purpose to sending flowers. So if I could sum up why I do this…it’s a job with meaning, purpose, and something that keeps me awake and alive.
So now you know. 🙂
*This really is the first installment. I just labeled it #28 so it would look more professional.
Photo by The Wild One, Copyright 2009. All Rights Reserved.