Ordinary

March 3, 2013 at 11:27 pm Leave a comment

Confession: I feel a bit guilty coming back to blog after such a sparse writing schedule. 

And then there’s the extra pressure that there had better be a good excuse and this had better be a good post to make up for it. (No promises. Sorry). 

I’m home again for spring break, which is lovely and well-needed. But I’m also struck by the ordinariness of it. And frankly, sometimes it’s just plain boring. And I’ve been here for, like, two days. And yesterday was not ordinary, so it doesn’t count. 

(But sometimes, as wonderful as it is, being home simply takes a bit of adjusting again.) 

There’s a stark difference between my life at school and my life at home. At home, I try to combine my homework and the various things I have to do with helping out as much as I can. When you’re dealing with chronic diseases (as my mother has), things travel at a much, much slower pace that’s a bit of a shock to my overcrowded school-life. But probably a good shock. 

There are limitations here. And I come home and have doctor’s appointments and my own occasional treatments as I continue to rebuild from having Lyme’s disease. And I don’t like it, being reminded that I’m not quite where I want to be and I do have some physical limitations forced on me. 

At school, I feel that I can shove them under the bed and ignore them. I can fill my day with many fun and stimulating things. I’m surrounded by bright, energetic dreamers who believe they can change the world – and I also believe that they can. Kelly is off to be a wild life vet, hopefully focusing on the public health aspect of it – if she can heal and prevent diseases of livestock in Africa, it may make a big difference in the people’s health. Rachel is going to study to be the (only?) doctor that I would want to visit. Preet is going teach students to love science with Teach for America. And I have big dreams, too – working in and exploring a city, being involved with specific organizations, learning and writing and making contributions that really matter and make a difference. 

And then I come home, and somehow the day manages to revolve around appointments and laundry and seemingly little things that take so much effort. 

Last weekend, I was in Philadelphia at the Justice Conference. It was a great event, and I’ll share more of my thoughts later. But one thing that stood out to me was a point by Gary Haugen, founder of the International Justice Mission. 

His point? While justice work does have its dramatic, movie-related moments (like brothel raids, which IJM certainly does), it’s more about the faithful, boring, behind-the-scenes moments. Six years of filling out government paperwork before any change, for example. But being there and being faithful in the mundane, boring, ordinary, and downright annoying – that is what actually changes lives. 

And it’s the exact same thing where I am, where you are. Faithfulness in the mundane matters probably more than we know. It’s the hard work and faithfulness that gives dreams wings, and it’s the faithful, ordinary love that keeps a family together. 

Small things matter to Jesus. What comfort in a world that overlooks them and speeds by onto bigger, better, and shinier. 

But when Jesus stopped to say that even giving a cup of cold water to a child mattered – that’s kind of important. And if it matters to do that, then I’ll venture a guess that it matters to give one to my little sister, too. 

So wherever you are: whether you are doing grand things or small ones; chasing dreams or walking into your Monday morning cubicle with a smile on your face and a mind ready for work – it matters. 

And this perspective is why I’m so grateful for these visits home. I need both universes. 

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