What? You want me to be ordinary?
Well yes, in the best sense of the word. There’s a lot of pressure to be whatever the world defines as extraordinary and I think the pursuit of it can lead us away from who we really are.
What does ordinary mean?
So let me explain what I mean by ordinary.
I was very moved yesterday by this article. With the help of her friends and family, it explores the life of an ordinary woman called Shelagh, who died recently at the age of 55.
Here’s what she wasn’t: a celebrity, an eminent scientist or academic, a business leader, a top-100 blogger, a mother, a wife, perfect.
She was someone who made the very most of her giftedness, and her gift was love. She expressed without reservation or censorship her love for her family, friends and colleagues. (And her love for herself. Apparently she took a bath each afternoon, eating oranges and reading in the steam.) And she was no plaster saint. Funny, irreverent, she laughed loudest at herself.
Shelagh was there for everyone, until suddenly without warning she wasn’t. She left a huge hole in the lives of everyone who knew her.
Look, the thing is this: our giftedness is unique to each of us. It doesn’t always explode and shout its way into the world in full Technicolor.
Have you ever really looked at a sparrow? Really looked? The sheer beauty of each individual feather, the way that together they make complex and wonderfully detailed patterns and shapes. The brightness of the eye, the delicacy of the claw. The more you look the more there is to see. In the cock of its head, the flutter of its heart, the tilt of its wings, our sparrow expresses always the essential nature and beauty of sparrow-hood. He is every bit as extraordinary as the eagle.
I believe that’s what we’re called to: find and express in every moment our truest nature, our truest beauty.
Can you find one small way to do that today?