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  • Writer's pictureBrian Lindner

More than Decoration

Updated: Feb 25, 2021

A bird and a fish live in a bowl on my desk. I guess it’s decoration to anyone curious enough to notice.

I made the bowl myself in college. When I first enrolled at Northwest Nazarene University I had no idea what my major should be. I knew I enjoyed art classes in high school so I tried my hand at pottery. The blue ceramic bowl on my desk didn’t impress anyone, but I still have it. When I see it I think of my college days and my time with the pottery wheel. Today, as every day now, the bowl holds a bird and a fish.


A number of years ago I took two separate trips to South America. The first trip was to Venezuela. My wife and I went with a group from our church to serve the people of Venezuela with a work project. Nazarene missionaries John and Shirley Fischer directed our efforts in clearing the grass, making cement, and laying bricks in the tropical humidity. While working I tried to talk to the local people but my intentions were better than my Spanish. Venezuela is best known as a land flowing with oil and dictatorship. Now I know more, I know the Venezuelan people I encountered and my experience of their culture. When I see the Balsa wood bird in my bowl, I remember my time in Venezuela and the people I met in the tropical mountains.

The second trip to South America was different than the first. Four years after our trip to Venezuela we went to Ecuador. College friends Dan and Kristina Benedick were medical missionaries in Shell, Ecuador. We decided to visit them- with our 18 month old son. Foreign travel is usually an adventure, traveling to another country with a toddler is nothing but an adventure. Torrential Ecuadorian rain, road demolishing mud slides, puking kid, canoeing the Amazon, and eating ants followed during those wild days in Ecuador. While chewing on sugarcane I purchased the small balsa wood fish that reminds me of our adventures and the people of Ecuador.

A fish and a bird live in a bowl on my desk but mostly it holds experiences.

It’s on my desk not because the items have value but because the experiences they represent matter.

The adventures represented on my desk and many other meaningful experiences have shaped me to the core.

Your experiences have done the same for you and your marriage.

Adventures are a great way to build connection in marriage.

Be curious enough today to notice how your experiences have shaped you, then invest in learning about your spouse’s experiences. They are more than decoration.   

What objects do you have that hold memories or meaningful experiences?

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