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ordinary time

It was an ordinary moment, during an ordinary day, in an ordinary week.

(Which, in the midst of life with littles, means complete chaos.)

Ordinary is never boring, never dragging these days. Our ordinary is unexpected, our mundane is a mess.

With each new dawn, schedules get shifted and plans get changed. One boy rises early, the other sleeps late; one naps like a dream, one wrestles like a nightmare; one gobbles three plates, the other shoves the spoon away. The next day they switch roles and everything changes again. Never a dull moment.

It was one of these everyday-crazy moments that I paused, my attention caught by turning leaves on the tree near our window, flashing orange in afternoon sun. Ordinary, I thought, such an ordinary day.

Even in the midst of mania – one child spilling CDs from the cabinet, the other pulling paints from a drawer – my thoughts tended theological, as they often do.

I thought about ordinary time, where the church spends most of its year. I thought about all of Jesus’ ordinary time, the years before his public ministry. So much of what matters is ordinary – the regular season, the everyday work.

In a season of life when so much seems ordinary, preparation for what’s ahead or maintenance of what’s right now, I sometimes think about all the ordinary years that Jesus spent. Scripture goes silent on the subject; the Gospels skip from twelve-in-the-temple to thirty-in-the-desert in the flip of a page. But those long lost years must have held quiet growth, careful learning, hard work, cultivated relationships, deep prayer. It made all the difference how Jesus lived his ordinary years.

So many days I dream, amidst the cries and chaos, about the years to come. When the house is finished. When my kids are in school. When I have more time to write. I often wrestle with the waiting, the reality of so much ordinary stretching out in front of me.

But when I stop, seized by an extraordinary ordinary like autumn leaves in October sun, I realize how much God must love ordinary. Because all of life is wrapped around it.

The sacred ordinary of every day.

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