So yeah, you won’t likely find it making the headlines of People Magazine.
But that shouldn’t stop real people from really knowing.
Marjorie Knight told me when I was nine.
She turned to me while we were hulling a heap of strawberries over her sink, and her white hair caught all this afternoon light and her gravelly voice rolled over those words like smoothened stones:
“Running hard after an extraordinary life turns out to be chasing a lie.
The realest extraordinary is always found in the ordinary.
The extra everyone’s looking for —- it’s found in ordinary.”
She didn’t say much after that, but I tasted her words in the strawberries, in the swallowing down of the rubies, the juice of them running out the side of the mouth.
I don’t know exactly when I realized that The Big Dipper spills over everyone’s house.
I have a mess of kids of my own when I realize that sunlight can warm anyone’s back in front of any window.
That there’s the dog breathing slow in sleep at the back door, and there’s a minute to sit and scratch behind his aging ears, and there are trees all down the open road with limbs reaching, the ordinary welcoming. I tell the kids to notice that.
And that it’s a ridiculously free world. Everyone gets to accept the invite to extraordinary or not.
I tell the kids that glossy red carpets can lead to nowhere and that the ordinary is the every day container that holds the realest extraordinary.
That everyone single one of us gets eyes to look into, to smile into, to witness glimmers of souls right here.
The ordinary becomes the extraordinary when the eyes see the extra glory here. That’s a life equation, take it or leave it. We could give it to the kids for free.
There’s nothing in this world that’s normal — there’s only growing blind to the glory.
There’s only wearing armour to shield the heart from the beauty that wounds.
The cynics do that. Thing is, guard your heart long enough with a shield of cynicism and that shield of cynicism becomes a lidded tomb over your heart withering up, numb and dead.
I tell the kids to be the brave and see and feel.
Tell them that our language shapes us, that we keep saying, “I’m stressed…. I’m overwhelmed…. I’m so crazy busy” so we can feel the blood hurtling wild through the veins like some extraordinary important.
But I tell the kids we’re trading in those worn out phrases: “I’m stressed” —- for “I’m grateful…” and “I’m overwhelmed” — for “I’m wowed.”
And saying the words out loud — “Yeah, I’m wowed… Yeah, I’m grateful” — so that the eyes hear what they could look for right here:
The extra everyone’s looking for —- it’s found in the ordinary. The ordinary becomes the extraordinary when the eyes see the extra glory right here.
The kids laugh that I’m the fool who wants to write it in red lipstick on every mirror, write it on a sticky note for all the wallets: “We don’t need more things. We need more meaning.”
More ordinary awakenings to the common extraordinary, to the God-glory hidden in plain sight. Take it or leave it.
Some kid left strawberry hulls leaking juice across the counter. There’s a candy wrapper on the windowsill. Stacks of hardly-tamed laundry lean. There are bare feet hanging off the end of the couch.
And there’s a headline for every day — a line to set on replay:
“I’m wowed here. I’m Grateful here. The Grace is here. The Extraordinary is here. God. is. here.”
We don’t need more things. We need more meaning. God. is. here.
The meaning unfolds in the ordinary Wow. Thank You. Yes.