“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2
“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”
― William Martin
My grandma’s birthday is today. Yes. June 21st. Her name was June. She’s gone now. She was the most loving, smart and forgiving person I knew. She’s been gone for over 30 years and yet I think of her everyday with some wistfulness. She was what the world would call ordinary. Baseball was her game of choice, cardplaying with grandpa and her friends, the best homemade pies (still haven’t accomplished this). Staying overnight with her was a treat! Smelling the line-dried sheets on the huge bed, pancakes in the morning, games, stories about her childhood during the Great Depression. Her mother owned a small grocery store because she was alone with two girls to raise and this was so courageous during this dark time in history. Stories about ice-skating to school, how she met my grandfather at an auction. How her great uncle was wounded fighting for the Yankees during the Civil War. Even more stories that still are fascinating to me and I share with others. She gave great hugs, warm, big, reassuring. Ordinary. She taught me to be a grandma before I was in junior high school just by who she wasl. I now tell stories to my grandchildren about the old days of a wall phone with a dial, television without a remote and those funny rabbit ears on top, going everyplace in our neighborhood to play and coming home for dinner. No fear. Lots of community. And I give great hugs, warm, big, reassuring. Ordinary.
Throughout the day, throughout my life and when boredom comes, when I’m alone and feel nothing I do matters, nothing makes a difference, I think of my grandma. What a legacy she truly left me! She taught me love. Ordinary? Perhaps to the world. Then I remember all the ordinary things Jesus used to teach, encourage and love. Things like a mustard seed, salt and light, bread, living water, harvest and even his own humble and short life. Ordinary. A legacy of love and grace for all.
I’m about to play Go Fish with my five-year-old step-grandson. The start of a legacy?
You bless the ordinary now and in heaven. We don’t see it sometimes. We forget “a cup of cold water only.” We forget we’re children of the Most High. Help us to do the next right thing, the ordinary, the way you see them. Even Jesus said he did what he saw the father doing. May we do the same. Thank you for all the miraculous and wonder you’ve done and do. And thank you for the ordinary.