Discovering “The Remarkable Ordinary”

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God as grace speaks to us through what happens. – Frederick Buechner

What I’m Reading:  The Remarkable Ordinary, by Frederick Buechner

How do we stop, look and listen to our lives?

At this beginning of a new year, it’s easy to look back at 2018 and wonder, where did it all go?  Maybe you had a big and memorable year – a graduation, a wedding, a birth; an illness, a parting, a death.

We had three graduations and an engagement in our immediate family in 2018 – all in five weeks!  So much to celebrate!

Still, when the last days of December came to a close, so much of the year simply felt like a blur.

Part of our trouble is that we only tend to count the big milestones in life, the ones that require an announcement to be printed or a gift to be sent.  It makes the rest of life seem, well …ordinary.

But it’s the little things that truly make a life.  The touch of another hand on yours.  The pregnant pause in a conversation that speaks more than words ever could.  The glance that tells you what you need to know.  The churning of your stomach that tests your courage or the rainbow that catches your eye just as you were beginning to despair.

Your remarkable life is happening right here, right now.

In Frederick Buechner’s, The Remarkable Ordinary, he helps us to see our life with God through this smaller lens as well.  To uncover the sacred opportunities that point us to the holy, that help us to discover the divine plot of our life’s story and to see God’s hand at work.

Buechner challenges us to take an ordinary day and listen for God in it.  Perhaps in a sunrise or a conversation.  In a nudge that can only be the Holy Spirit.  A comment that won’t let go of your mind.

***

The Spiritual Practice of Daily Examen

Take some time at the end of each day this week to notice the ordinary moments of your day.   Replay the conversations you had.  In your mind, walk through the activities you were a part of.

What thoughts were meaningful?  Instructive?  Challenging?  What images won’t your mind let go of?  Write them down in a journal. 

Ask God what they might be saying to you, how God may be speaking.

At the end of the week, reflect back over your notes for the week.  What patterns do you notice? What one truth will you carry with you into the weeks ahead?

Do this practice multiple times throughout the year.  When 2019 comes to a close, your recollections of the year that has passed will not be at all blurry; instead, you will have a notebook full of glimpses of God in your life – your remarkable, ordinary life.

***

So many times I hear the question, why doesn’t God speak to us any more, like He did in biblical days.  The truth is, God does speak.  We just don’t always do a very good, intentional job of listening.

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