Monday, January 4, 2016

Extraordinarily Ordinary

"The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children."
G.K. Chesterton

On Saturday, I slipped on a dress and picked up my Mom in my 12 passenger van and together we made our way to a nearby Catholic church. A family friend had suffered heartbreaking loss, and as soon as I had heard of the funeral arrangements, I tapped out a quick text. "Will you come with me?" She merely responded "yes."

So here we were. Sitting in the pew of a massive, beautiful church, watching it fill with people I've known my entire life. People I grew up with who are now adults like me, along with their parents and, some, their own children. I remembered long sweaty summer nights playing neighborhood games with these kids-now-adults. Every once in a while Mom would lean over and say "In that pew there, is that...?" Family after family after family. Brought together to stand in community with one of their own. It was breathtaking.

After a lovely service and greeting people we hadn't seen in years, we walked through the frozen January air together and Mom commented about how it's amazing two normal people can be so blessed to have children. The gift of human life seems almost too magnificent for most of us mere mortals. What's so special about us, anyway?

More than that, though, how incredible is it that two ordinary, normal people can have babies together that then grow into people that become community for others? I think about those pews full of people drawing together in love. People holding space in grief and joy. People who are gifts to the world. People who are only possible because of someone's yes.

We talk so much about growing community, looking for community, longing for community. But do we realize that it's in our homes where whole communities take root?

It's Monday morning and my kids are still in bed. Once they trickle down things will get noisy and chaotic and messy and I'm sure there will be less than lovely moments. But the picture of Saturday's service remains in my mind and reminds me to keep an eye on the end goal. If a grubby group of south side neighbor kids could grow into something as strong, peaceful and loving as I saw then, I know there's still hope for us.

Mamas, the ordinary life you are weaving will yield some extraordinary things. Keep on keeping on.

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