I sit with my ratty hair in my old rocking chair, the one I’ve had since before my daughter was born.
I push with one foot, causing the chair to react with gentle motion.
This double thickness fleece blanket is tucked on my lap, the one with the cute trucks and cars splayed out in printed fashion across it. A coloring book and my favorite colored pencils lay in my lap.
Ordinary chair. Ordinary basement. Ordinary blanket.
My bed’s not even made. My house is messy. It’s just a lot of ordinary in an ordinary day. I say it like the making of the bed matters in a hugely significant way. Which it doesn’t. But it’s an ordinary routine in an ordinary home in an ordinary life.
The tears pour down my cheeks unexpectedly as music spirals in my head. They surprise me. These tears. They seem to do that.
♪♫Hark! The voice of love and mercy, Sounds aloud from Calvary ~
It is finished! Hear the dying Savior cry. ♪♫♫
♪♫When we’ve been there 10,000 years, Bright shining as the sun…….♫♫♪
♪♪♪ This is my beloved, His form is divine……His voice as the sound of the dulcimer sweet…..His lips as a fountain of righteousness flow….♪♫♫
♫♫♫ So here I am, What’s left of me, Where glory meets my suffering….When the hurt and the Healer collide. ♪♫♪♪
Tears and prayers mingled together. I imagine them all swirled in a watercolor mix, the iridescence image shining up like a puddle on the pavement filled with bubbles and colors. A mix much like the colors I’ve been painting with my colored pencils on this page in my lap.
Tears and prayers.
Because the needs seem heavy.
My hurting friend. An ache so deep it cuts like a knife.
The family facing Easter without their daddy.
One in a million diseases. Cancer. Tumors. They hold a cruel, cruel edge.
Hunger. Mayhem. Injustice.
The chokingness of fear breathing in our faces.
My friends facing a business challenge.
The mama feeling overcome with all the demands, demands and neededness and the feeling of not being enough to go around.
An aunt in pain. A friend with pain. A great-aunt suffering. Pain. Pain. Pain. So much pain.
A friend who needs a job. Friends mourning loss.
A friend who reaches out with a simple text and a flayed open vulnerability. Who simply says, “Thank-you for caring.”
Thank-you for caring.
These words sit with me. They sit deep. I can’t shake them. They well up tears from deep inside.
Isn’t there a part of us all WHO JUST NEED SOMEONE TO CARE? It haunts me a little bit. I care. I do care. But I can’t fix things. And boy, do I want to so badly sometimes. I hurt for others. I hurt for myself. I hurt for sometimes knowing I fail in the caring.
“My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 ~ This reminder wraps around me. Me, in my weakness, who very seldom can even call to mind the reference for a particular Scripture.
My eyes fall on the page I’m bringing to life with color.
There’s a reason I chose it, unknowingly.
This morning in this worn, not-so-beautiful rocking chair, ordinary became a sanctuary.
Tear-stained face turned silently up to the Savior we commemorate this Easter weekend.
The Son of the One who bends down to listen. Psalm 116:2
The One who bottles my tears and He bottles the tears of all those so near and dear. Psalm 56:8
The One who creates life in barren wombs and conquers death through the empty tomb. 1 Samuel 1:20, Matthew 28:6
The Savior in the sanctuary. The shelter in the storm. Hebrews 9:24-25, Mark 4:37-41
The One who wants to dwell in ordinary people. The Creator of extraordinary. Matthew 5:16, Genesis 1:27
The One always, always offering refuge.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
When I start to consider the detail in what I consider ordinary, I quickly find that isn’t a fitting adjective at all.
The fingernail on my little finger. Stop and look at yours. Do you know how unprotected and sore and tender your finger is without it?
The lines running across the palm of my hand. I can’t even count them in their crisscross pattern.
The nerves and nerve endings inside my body. I give them no thought until they’re wrought with pain. My heart beats. I never tell it to.
The tiny delicate blooms on the lilacs on my table. Exquisite. I can’t form them. I can make a few pretty buttercream flowers. I can craft paper flowers. I can revel in the beauty of God’s beautiful blooms. But I can not replicate them. No one can.
The green wheat in the field across the road. It sways in the wind that’s been swooping and hollering around the house eaves. It’s heading out. Forming kernels and getting ready to offer a harvest of gluten and grain. It’s gorgeous! We call it our wheat. It’s not. Yes. We have to prepare and plant and pluck, but without the faithfulness of God to sprout the life in that seed, not one bushel or acre would produce.
Ordinary? Perhaps it’s this seeing through a smoky mirror glass that keeps me ordered in ordinary. 1 Corinthians 13:12
Sometimes, all it takes to make a day overflow from ordinary is colored chalk and a bright orange tulip. A cheery text chirping its way onto your phone screen. Knowing that a friend is praying for you. Offering encouragement or showing up with enthusiasm! Sometimes it’s the caring-to-the-best-of-your-ability and knowing God is not asleep.
Here I am. Me, with the messy hair, on a simple Saturday morning with the bed still unmade, struggling to capture the essence of ordinary. Realizing, rather that perhaps there’s so much more sanctuary than there is ordinary.
“HE BENDS DOWN TO LISTEN.”
“THANK-YOU FOR CARING.”
Sanctuary offered. Sanctuary called for. Sanctuary accepted.
Ordinary shot through with sanctuary.
Much like a tapestry woven in bright colors with golden threads through it. The golden threads hidden. They’re there. You just have to look a little longer, a little deeper to find them, to see them. To catch the right light revealing and showing their shimmering splendor. Find the right light to see the gleam of the gold.
The golden strands tie it all together and turn our tapestry into a work of stunning splendor and outrageous ordinary.
Cue the music again. Place fingers on piano keys. Tuck the violin under your chin. Pick up your drumsticks. Hold high the cymbals. Place your bow on the cello strings. Tune your harp. Grab the guitar.
♪♫♪♫ Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary…….Pure and holy……tried and true…..With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living….Sanctuary, Lord, for you! ♫♫♫
*Coloring Page from It’s Simply Tuesday coloring book.