Word Up Wednesday: Make the Ordinary Come Alive / by Donna Olivia Owusu-Ansah

As promised, I am continuing Word Up Wednesday by featuring reflections written during my Clinical Pastoral Education Internship. The following was written in October 2015. Again, Scripture was added and minor edits made to be shared here on www.reverendmotherrunner.com

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
— Ephesians 3:20-21

I read a quotation recently from the book The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents that struck a chord in my heart:

“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.”

 

This quotation is not only helpful for children, but for people of all ages. So often, our eyes are open for miracles. We long to see the spectacular. We chase after wonders. We want to be astonished and amazed. In this quest, our eyes can grow dim to the beautiful people, places, and things all around us. 

This year, on the fourth of July, our family went to the Edison Municipal Complex to experience the fireworks. It was a beautiful night. The smell of fresh air-popped popcorn in the air. The sweet taste of cotton candy. The vibration of the bass and drum from the live band that was playing. And the amazing explosion of light and sound and color of the fireworks. My one year old wan’t too thrilled with the fireworks, but my three year old was in awe from start to finish and in the days and weeks to come. 

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Some weeks later, she was still asking to see the fireworks. And while I wish I could recreate the magic of the fireworks for her daily, I knew that the next time she’d probably see the spectacular light show again would be on the fourth of July. So, instead of explaining that we couldn’t see fireworks again for a while, I opened the garage door, stood in our driveway with her and asked her to look up. When she looked up, there they were. Stars. They had been there all along. They were unassuming, yet beautiful. Here was the object she’d been singing about since before she could talk and she soaked them up. She hasn’t asked about fireworks since. Anytime we are out after dark, she quietly notices the stars. 

Sometimes we are so busy chasing fireworks, that we miss the stars. Sometimes we fix our eyes on making the extraordinary happen, that we miss the ordinary moments that make life beautiful—a warm smile, the kindness of a stranger, a word of encouragement from a nurse, progress in recovery, the colors of Autumn, the lifting power of laughter, the release of tears.

Today, I invite us to enjoy and bask in the beauty present in the ordinary and every day moments of our lives. For doing so will open our eyes, ears, heart, mind, and soul to the extraordinary. 

May I share a prayer with you?

Gracious God, we are so grateful for your presence in our lives. We thank you for our lives. Give us insight to see the beauty in the everyday occurrences of our lives. Help us to not take them for granted as we seek after the extraordinary. Fill us with joy, wonder, and amazement for the ordinary that we might recognize the splendor in your creation. Amen.