Many years ago, when my husband and I were in Germany, we were given a…
“There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things” -Pam Halpert
This line was stated by the character, Pam Halpert, in the finale of one of my favorite TV series, The Office. While more typically meant to be a humorous show, this simple statement really epitomized the inner story of the series. Beyond the TV show; however, it also relates so well to many aspects of life, including and especially our spiritual journeys. God created the world, and each person who lives is a mirror of His image and displays inherent beauty as His creation. We show His glory in many ways, and the world around us also shows beauty in a variety of ways too.
Extraordinary moments such as a glorious pink and orange sunrise that slowly creeps up to the horizon and breaks through into vast rays of light, the view from a mountaintop, or the laughter of a child are easy to see the almost supernatural beauty they contain. God can be made present in these wild and bold moments that surely capture our attention by their very nature. But in addition to the raging thunder or lightning strikes, we are aware that God also speaks in that still, small voice. That voice is most assuredly an extraordinary thing! Yet when we approach other similar ordinary moments from a mindset focused on God and His glory, we see just how extraordinary each of those moments can become.
Ordinary things are often small and can be overlooked or bypassed due to their perceived lack of interest or extra little something that causes them to really stand out. A soft t-shirt, a good novel, a bird chirping in the early morning, a cool breeze, kneading soft clay, a hug between friends, a cozy blanket, and the list goes on. Each of us could probably think of many simple, everyday things that reveal beauty in their own unique ways. In the moment, we may be focused elsewhere or overwhelmed by other actions, which cause us to miss these simple opportunities to view the world in a new way.
Jesus joins us in the ordinary. He promised to always remain with us, and we can seek Him out at any moment in prayer. Along with all the miraculous deeds He performed, there were many simple moments that Jesus must have lived. Quiet, daily meals with the disciples, sitting in a garden in the middle of the day, or walking down the road to the next town. When we experience similar moments in our own lives, we can pause and tune into the reality that in these ordinary moments too, we share in the divine nature. A simple thanks to God will remind us that each moment is to be cherished whether it is ‘special’ or just ‘ordinary’. And the reminder that each are beautiful moments causes us to turn back to reflecting on our Creator and Savior, looking for all the ways that He reveals Himself to us. God only makes beautiful things, as He infuses them with His own beauty. This is a truth that we can trust.
Mary pondered many large moments of Jesus’ life in her heart, but she also probably noticed the small things as well. Jesus had a whole childhood before coming into his public ministry and role in salvation history. The ordinary day to day actions were perhaps as simple as the ones we face in daily life, and yet they are no less deeply beautiful. Those ordinary moments added up to be part of the many things that she silently treasured in her heart and brought with her to sustain her faith at the foot of the cross.
Back in the fictional world of The Office, as Pam points out to her paper company’s documentary crew, “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things, isn’t that kinda the point?” Yes, it is precisely the point. We just need to keep our eyes open and hearts ready to receive and experience these simple moments as the gifts they truly are.
Jesus, help us to become aware and attuned to the variety of ordinary, yet beautiful, moments we will encounter today. When we remain still, we know that You are with us. Guide and lead us to seek out beauty in the world. Let us hear Your still, small voice and allow it to infuse our world and unique daily life with Your extraordinary presence. Amen.