Monday, March 10, 2014
That young, beautiful girl, one of the dearest and best, milled around after church to talk to this middle aged me with these eye sockets looking a bit droopy and years of mistakes behind me like Hansel and Gretel’s bread trail.
She tells me how she’s student teaching little kids from the other side of the tracks, and the love light twinkles in her kind, life’s-all-in-front-of-me eyes. She cares about these babies, really cares. But she dips a little low and wonders if she’s making a difference. She wonders if she should be hiking to some cliff in Central America to help a hurting child in the backwoods of nowhere.
I nod, because I understand. Sometimes the daily of life feels insignificant. But with over half a century behind me, well, there’s a lot I don’t know, but this is true for sure:
Ordinary people, doing ordinary things, by way of an extraordinary God, couldn't be less ordinary.
Ask me how it was when the men from church came with their ordinary tools to make my house wheelchair ready for my main squeeze, after he was nearly killed by the drunk driver…Ask me how it was when the ordinary secretary at the doctor’s office found a way to get me in (with a dose of kindness to boot) when my baby girl was suffering so…Ask a thousand ordinary people about what it meant to have one person smile and care when they had a rotten Monday, or their car broke down and someone stopped with a jack, or when the Panera girl went back to get a fresh baguette because the ones up front felt a little too stale.
Here I am, not wrestling so hard with this anymore, because I have seen the beauty in the ordinary works of ordinary people. I love how Helen Keller puts it:
“I long to do a great and noble thing, but it is my duty to do small things as if they were great and noble.”
I have that up, over my desk, reminding me that every phone call I make, every conversation I have, every email I send can be and should be seasoned with the salt of the love of Jesus Christ. Oh, how I wish it were true all the time. But it is what I attain to…and what that girl just starting down the road is learning too. She told me how she got the revelation…”DUH” she said, “I’ve got hurting children right before my eyes!” And what a wonder they have in her.
How I wish I saw that at 21. How I wish I searched less for my own significance, and spent my life making others significant…mostly, letting others know their unmatched significance to the most Significant One ever. We learn, we grow, and regret never nourished a life. Forward, onward, upward to the high calling of being a servant to all. That’s the real business of life. Marley’s ghost phrased it perfectly in his conversation with Scrooge from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”:
“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business! "
I remember when that girl with the radiant smile and bright mind sat in a highchair in my house, stuffing bananas in her mouth and making us laugh. Filling our house with joy. Those ordinary moments, they are the highlights of my life. The mundane, everyday gift of love in all its multiplied facets is what Jesus came here for.
What could be more significant than that?
Your friend on the pilgrim road,