OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #328 The Blessings of the Ordinary
Hi folks. We just returned from an extraordinary trip. Since our 25th anniversary is coming up in May, and I will likely be on a French course, Jan and I decided we would go a little early. We flew to Phoenix, rented a car, and travelled to Sedona, the Painted Desert, Grand Canyon, Kingman (a traditional Route 66 stop), Las Vegas, and the Hoover Dam. We really enjoyed the time travelling together and were amazed at the spectacular sights. If we are friends on Facebook, you may have seen some of the pictures. If not, email me and I’ll send you the links.
About halfway through the trip, we met a local woman who surprised us with a thought-provoking question. She listened as we described our trip and asked, “What is it that you find so spectacular?”
She was surprised that we were fascinated by sights which were very ordinary in her local perspective. We loved the vastness of the desert, with such a variety of life thriving even though the landscape was parched. In Sedona, the red sandstone formations soared hundreds of feet into the air. In the painted desert, alternating layers of sandstone and rock looked like they had been decorated by an artist.
We met other locals who had never travelled the hour or two needed to visit the Grand Canyon. “Grand” seems too small a word to describe it. It was amazingly spectacular.
We are all guilty of taking local sights for granted. When I was young growing up on PEI, I did not appreciate Anne of Green Gables, nor did recognize the beauty of the water. It was only after leaving and coming back that I saw them with new eyes.
We tend to overlook the ordinary in our lives and herein lies the spiritual lesson. After this woman asked us what we found so spectacular, I began to wonder if it is possible that others might recognize great blessing in something we consider rather ordinary? It seems it is possible to overlook the ordinary of our lives and actually fail to see great blessings.
My transition to military life has been a good one, but not without its adjustments. For instance, my military work day most often ends at 4pm. This can change according to training or operations, and sometimes I have the duty phone 24/7 for a week at a time. But, generally speaking, I am finished at 4. There are times I find myself a little bored, wishing for something to do or somewhere to go. This is the ordinary of my life. However, a year or two ago I would have envied myself as I tried to pry productive time from every minute of every day. I will eventually find ways to use this newfound time, but it is indeed a blessing.
This is a matter of perspective. What we see as ordinary is extra-ordinary to someone else, perhaps even a blessing. The challenge is to see our own lives through someone else’s experience in order to gain a new sense of thankfulness.
Our ordinary may look very different to someone else, and so we are left to think about that very issue. In what ways is our ordinary actually a great blessing?
I hope this helps. Be on fire.
OnFire is a letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Married to Jan, Troy is a chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces, and has 20 years of pastoral experience. This letter published Apr 13, 2015. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or reply, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Blog located at www.onfireletter.blogspot.com