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Welcome to the Ordinariness of Our Lives

Saturday, a good friend of ours and his girlfriend joined us for dinner.  It was a great time to try a new recipe for Sante Fe Chicken Chili, a great way to welcome Autumn into our lives.  I have been craving soup, and now I feel I can officially make it several times a week.   After dinner, we enjoyed music, when all 6 of us picked up an instrument and plucked out the chords to “Wagon Wheel”, some of us plucking with much more talent than others.  Then Brian and Tony and Hannah played a great mixture of sing along music that made my heart light, and helped me to appreciate the gift of friendship in our house.

I had been stressing during the day, wanting everything to be just right to have a guest.  Brian is so much a part of our family that he is really not a guest, but his girlfriend still is.  I wanted to really scrub our kitchen floor to a shine, which it has been missing for months.  You know how old linoleum gets- all that ground in dirt really dulls the color, especially on a light colored pattern.

Complaining that I was running out of time, Tony said to just leave it.  He said we are letting Becky into the ordinariness of our lives.  I am pretty sure she didn’t notice the floor but was as wrapped up in the music, food and conversation as I was.

Why is it that we feel we have to put on a show when we have company?  Why do I feel this need to make our house look like no teenagers actually live here?  After all, the dining room table is usually full of computers and school books, and it is cleared off only when we have company.  If they are really the kind of company we want to spend time with, then what our house looks like doesn’t really matter.

I have heard the saying that “God doesn’t meet you where you want to be, but rather where you are.”    We want all things to be neat and tidy, and not full of challenges.  But the reality is,  God is only present in our day to day ordinariness, not in pretenses, or places we wish we were.  God meets us right where we are in the middle of the messiness of our lives.

So is there a better place to meet new people and share friendship than in a place of holy ordinariness, where we can see the face of God in the people around our table, in the music that is played, and in the laughter shared?  All of life is holy, especially when true friendship is beginning and love is nurtured.

One of these days, I will get around to cleaning my floor, but it won’t be because of company.  Maybe I will make it an act of prayer, cleaning the floor as I clean the dullness out of my own heart.  I am sure to find God in that ordinary mess!

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This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Jan, what a timely article! It hits right at the heart of my own rut right now – putting off inviting friends for dinner, or brunch, or just a visit, because the house is not in the condition it used to be. And, not having the energy to get it that way, nor the resources to hire it done. Thank you for sharing such wonderful insights, and helping me to take a new look at my own perspective.

  2. Isn’t it funny that we need to let ourselves know that we are good enough! The lessons in this world aren’t about who can spend the most money, be the most successful, or have the cleanest house. Rather we can focus on having a big enough heart to not care about any of that and just welcome the friend and stranger into our lives! The lesson is about love! (Including ourselves!)

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