You guys. Today's guest is my online and (amazingly) in-real-life writer-friend Cara Meredith. We're both former pastors and teachers, both lovers of Jesus and the Bay Area, both mamas to two boys. I'm so honored to have her words here today, reminding us of the wonder that's right in front of us, if only we'll pay attention. It's been a theme for me lately, and this piece struck all the chords my heart's been singing.
By all outward accounts, today was just another day in September.
We hauled ourselves to church this morning. We read books and watched Curious George and Mama went grocery shopping all by herself to the local co-op eleven minutes down the road. We walked around the lake and we swung on swings at the park. My boys and I ate margherita pizza and baby carrots and dill pickles for dinner because Dada was gone, being a friend to someone who really needs his buddies right now.
It was completely ordinary, in every sense of the word.
But wonder and holiness and even a sprinkling of magic filled our day, because that’s just how it is: the ordinary tends to be most extraordinary, if you ask me.
Our ordinary, everyday lives burst at the seams with cycles of life and death and resurrection, spinning and tumbling over and over again. Gifts of grace lie in wait around every corner, if we’re just willing to open our eyes and take a peek.
Truthfully, I wanted a better answer to this question of novelty, of extraordinariness. If I could, I’d tell you a story of paragliding in the Swiss Alps, of feeling like I was never quite so alive, never quite so birdlike when screams and laughter and silent awe shuffled together, one into the other, like a deck of cards. Or I’d tell you about the first time I went SCUBA diving in the Puget Sound, when I wore a five millimeter wetsuit and figured out that the best way to clear my ears so I could descend thirty feet was simply to gulp. The pressure released, and with every gulp I was treated to new life: hearty lingcod and gardens of giant plumose anemones, red algae and 80-year-old rockfish.
But I never seem to get very far in this storytelling, because then I hear his song.
My three-year-old tends to pick a song of the day, and today, in the middle of September, he chose “Jingle Bells.”
It wasn’t necessarily wishful thinking on his part, with dreams of sugarplums (or Santa’s bounty-filled sleigh) dancing through his head. It was merely the tune he honed in on.
So when the rest of the congregation joined in a jazzy rendition of an old hymn and sang, “Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms,” Canon tried his hand at a new set of lyrics. He just wanted to see if “Dashing through the snow” fit the beat, I suppose.
Then, after church, we turned off the radio in the car and rolled our windows down and joined in the chorus with him, completing every line with a Hey! as he’s instructed us to do.
We sang it as he rode his scooter down the hill, just because, and he sang it in the bath with Baby Brother, bubbles sprinkling their caramel bodies like speckles of snow.
And I guess that’s why I can’t get over this extraordinariness, for it’s the gift of the present.
Hovering an inch above the ground, I have to be fully attune to its invitation, or I just might miss it. It woos and dares and beckons me jump on in, to taste and see the colliding bounty of goodness and holiness and grace.
For this ordinary is the extraordinary, just as the extraordinary is sometimes quite ordinary. Even if I don’t always believe it, even if I want it to look a little shinier and sparklier on the outside, it’s there - and it’s mine and yours and ours for the keeping.
Might our eyes be open to seeing and receiving and opening it each day.
Cara Meredith is a writer, speaker and musician from the greater San Francisco area. She is passionate about theology and books, her family, meals around the table, and finding Beauty in the most unlikely of places. A seven on the Enneagram, she also can’t help but try to laugh and smile at the ordinary everyday. You can find her on her blog, Facebook and Twitter.
Right? So gorgeously written. Where's the extraordinary in your everyday? Jump on down to the comments to tell us more and leave Cara some love.
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