This Week: Ordinary
You’re standing on the brink of financial ruin; facing a health crisis that may or may not be the end of you; shutting the door on the most important relationship of your life; holding the hand of your dying loved one while their final breath whispers away. It can be anything. You’re in the midst of a swirling vortex around you that sometimes feels so tangible you think, surely they can hear, surely they can see. And you wait for someone to raise their head in wonder at the terrible storm descending on your head.
But instead, you watch in stunned disbelief as life goes on around you. People living their ordinary lives: running into Starbucks to spend $6 on a coffee drink that you realize could have paid for dinner; taking off on vacations you’re never going to go on; filling their grocery carts with four different kinds of expensive cheese and three kinds of gourmet crackers while you duck down to the very bottom shelf and load up on Top Ramen – 7 for a dollar. Friends, family, and people you don’t know are taking day trips into neighboring cities while you stick close to your neighborhood and try not to go anywhere because every drop of gas costs something. People are out there, lining up for movies and paying $15 for popcorn and drinks and you recycle the movies you have a home and hope the library has something good this week that someone else hasn’t picked up before you. As the woman behind you reaches over your shoulder to grab a pack of toilet paper, you try not to let the frown on your face give away the horrible decision in your mind: toilet paper or be late on the utility bill.
|photo by pippalou|
Because that’s one of the hardest things to convey – the thing that no one tells you about – ordinary in the desert can be very lonely.
And can I be honest with you? You never know who’s in the midst of a desert experience. That guy that sits in the office and laughs with you? He might be covering up the painful truth that his little girl has leukemia. That woman in front of you in the grocery store line – the one that makes you so impatient? She might be calculating the cost down to the penny to make sure she can feed her family for the week.
This is a call for grace. An invitation to be gentle to those around us. A humble request to consider others and their situations – even if we don’t know what those situations are.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.
1 Peter 4:8-10
We have been given grace so that we can extend it freely and with loving generosity to those around us. Whatever our ordinary circumstances may be, we have it within us to be the hands and feet of Christ to those whose ordinary lives we touch.
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