Details matter. They provide color and texture. Even when we do not want them, they help. They tell a story beyond our words. Even as we talk to the details, I do not think I realize the extent of the real story.
Two nights ago, I went to the flower market in Bangkok. If you had asked me what I was going to find before I went, I would have talked about the flowers and possible varieties. What unfolded went beyond anything I imagined.
Yes, there were flowers. Flowers were arriving by in all kinds of trucks. Flowers were leaving in tuk tuks, taxis, and on foot. Everywhere you looked, you could see flowers. In addition to roses, carnations, and the normal range of flowers you might imagine, there were marigolds. More than a few, blocks of them! Yet, that is not what made the flower market interesting.
The details made the story.
I should have known I could not imagine the details. The surprise is one that has repeated itself across history. When a young kid began to tell a Centurion a story, he had no idea where it was going to go. “The Jews have worked up a plot against Paul. They’re going to ask you to bring Paul to the council first thing in the morning on the pretext that they want to investigate the charges against him in more detail. But it’s a trick to get him out of your safekeeping so they can murder him.” (Acts 23.20) Details turned an idea on its head.
In Bangkok’s flower market, there were kids, lots of them. They were going to work with their parents. Even as the market opened at 10.30pm, they knew it was not time to go to sleep. It was time to be alive! It was time to watch the happenings, play with friends, and lend a hand where you could.
The Bangkok flower market is not for tourists. It is a market for business. It is intense. It is also fun to be in the middle of it all.