Living In Ordinary Time
It was on Good Friday when I allowed myself adequate time to accomplish my writing task. Although it was only April 19th, which was slightly more than one full month before this post was due, I was already beginning to feel anxious. My anxiety was raging and warning me that I would fail and not get this job done.
I sat down and began the seemingly arduous task of writing. I placed my fingers on the computer keyboard and as I did so, I could hear the television that was turned on in the other room. I quickly became distracted by the sound of the many weather advisories that were being reported every few minutes. A front of potential severe weather including thunderstorms, tornadoes, and straight-line winds along with heavy rain and hail was being predicted for my community. The severe storms were expected to arrive in a few hours.
In spite of my concern of the approaching storms, I was determined to complete my project. I had been praying about what to write for the last several weeks. But I still could not seem to come up with a super-fantastic and spiritually-enlightening idea. Recent posts to the SMC Women’s Ministry blog were very well written and seemed to be spiritually significant. Thinking about this served to add more fuel to the burning anxiety I felt inside. That rainy morning I stared at my blank computer screen wondering why I had chosen May 29th as the date I could write for this post.
As I struggled searching for ideas, I began to get fixated on my struggle. What WAS I thinking? There are no major Christian events or holidays in May to write about. I was feeling lost, frustrated and inadequate for the task ahead of me. I wondered what I could write on this day, Good Friday, which is such a extraordinary day of the Christian year, to be published on such an ordinary day in May?
What I needed in that moment was something to inspire me that was extraordinary. But May 29th is just another day. It is like vanilla ice cream. I felt what I needed was more like chocolate chip mint, rocky road, or cookie dough flavor - something exciting, awe-inspiring and relevant. I kept asking myself, “What can I write on this Good Friday, such an extraordinary day in the Christian calendar, to be posted on May 29th - just an ordinary day?”
I looked up from my computer and glanced out my window again. I could see that the trees had now begun to sway frantically from the increasing winds. Leaves and small branches where breaking free of the trees and scattering across the yard as if they were trying to escape punishment from the storm that mother nature was about to unleash.
As I stared out my window, I watched as the trees began swaying with a vigor that matched the increasing winds. Then suddenly a small brown bird landed on the windowsill looking for food. The day before, my husband had taken down our bird feeders in preparation for the liklihood of storms. Nevertheless, this little brown bird was searching the windowsill looking for seed that might have fallen on the ledge. I had seen this ordinary-looking, little, brown bird before. His sudden appearance on my windowsill and his search for food provided yet another distraction taking my mind away from my writing. As the wind blew, the trees swayed and the rain began to fall, this little, brown bird paused from his search for food to bless me with his beautiful song. As I listened to this bird sing his song of joy, I could feel my anxiety dissipate and the fear leave me. I continued to listen to this small, ordinary bird. It was then when I realized it is in the ordinary moments of life that God speak to us in whispers. Then I heard a voice say to me, “Why are you here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:13)
“The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord Was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord Was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.” (1 King 19:11-13)
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
As I sat contemplating my responsibility, I asked myself, “Why am I here?” We are all here because God uses ordinary people to spread the extraordinary love of Christ to the world. We sing songs, tell stories, and write for blogs. We even, at times, whisper. The storms passed, the rain stopped, there were no tornadoes, just a little bird singing a song of love. I will continue to be just an ordinary person that helps to “make Jesus famous”!
Susan Bowen, Guest Writer