I don’t know about your life.
Maybe it’s filled with Michael Bay explosions, fire-breathing dragons, and non-stop mountaintops.
Mine’s pretty full of ordinary things. It's got mountaintop views, and it's got valleys, yeah, but most of time I just smell the soot from the plain path & keep walkin', traversing through awkward glances, spacey classes, and PB&J sandwiches.
I secretly believe my moment is coming any time now.
You know, that critical moment where the lights dim & the climax scene begins. Extraordinary circumstances asking for extraordinary courage. I emerge out the ashes-- victorious, sweaty & ripped muscles glistening in the dawn's light (obviously)-- a glorious hero.
I'm still waiting.
Extraordinary doesn't win.
Ordinary does. Here's three reasons why.
(1) Let's be real: 99.5% of our life is just plain ordinary no matter how hard we try.
Don't get me wrong. You're probably big cheese. But just take a little inventory of what populates your life. You might make a life out of breaking down systemic injustices, but you're thinking about the cereal you just had in your morning Biology lab.
You're here right now, somehow & somewhere, reading this. Just go back to the last couple things you did before reading this.
Lean into that thought long enough, and you'll notice that almost all of our moments are colored by ordinariness.
(2) We're free to be "with" our life when we expect ordinary.
I was down in Iowa hanging out with my fiancee's family a couple weekends ago & realized that-- for almost two years now-- I've secretly expected to have lots of deep, heartfelt, & meaningful connections with the family I'll soon be calling my own.
That's why frustration crept in when they were doing homework, baking stuff, strumming ukeleles, & watching cop shows. I found myself floating above it, wondering when the 'real' connections were gonna happen.
I always do this. I'm as idealistic as anybody I know, so I get easily frustrated when I can't get my ideals to hit the pavement of my life.
Truth is that life is 99.5% ordinary & 0.5 % extraordinary when I believe it should be the opposite.
And because I believe it, I give myself a permission slip to bypass all the ordinary moments of life, where I’m around ordinary people doing ordinary things with them.
(3) Extraordinary is just what happens when ordinary stuff gets in the hands of beautiful people.
Frederick Buechner writes that "“A miracle is when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A miracle is when one plus one equals a thousand.”
Everybody wants some share in extraordinary. It's an impulse that drives all of us.
So your life is really, truly, actually ordinary. Mine too. We get to show up to all these ordinary moments & try to figure out how love shows up.
We'll fail, but miracles do happen. One plus one still equals a thousand. Ordinary and ordinary sometimes equals extraordinary.
That's because, again, extraordinary is just what happens when ordinary stuff gets in the hands of beautiful people.