Monday, April 20, 2015
Contemplating the Sacred Ordinary
"timeless contemplation of the ordinary"
I read that line this morning. A beautiful phrase that speaks so much. Originally a critique of Vermeer's work, I want to claim is as my approach to life.
I was a history major in college. My interest sprang, not from a desire to understand the big picture, but rather a desire to know about the realities of life for day to day people at a given time from the past. I came to understand my interest as more "social" history. I wanted to understand how real people felt and lived through those great moments that perhaps they never really knew about.
I read . . . a lot. I want so much to share the insights and gifts I find in my reading, but I am hampered by not knowing how best to share. The ability to put into words the feelings that develop eludes me at times.
This morning I read a story from Morning Sun on a White Piano, and I was nearly overcome with emotion. The writer's words speaking so eloquently of his young son's deep need for all to remain safe, secure, and predictable. "No wolf. No wolf," the young boy cried when his father attempted to introduce an element of danger and suspense into a story. The boy didn't want his "bunny story" infiltrated by evil, and who can blame him. None of us wants our world to include a ravenous wolf. And yet they all do in one form or another.
And so I choose again to see the ordinary as sacred. To find pleasure in small things. A cup of tea. Clean laundry to be folded. The sound of rain on the roof. As Flannery O'Connor wrote --
I am afraid of pain and I suppose that is what we have to have to get grace. Give me the courage to stand the pain to get the grace, Oh Lord. Help me with this life that seems so treacherous, so disappointing.