Monday, December 26, 2016

The Gift of Ordinary

G.K.Chesterton ~

“The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children.”  

Christmas 2016 is officially over and it was a good one.  It was a holiday full of laughter, joy and love.  We had a beautiful Christmas eve service, and Christmas day service was fairly well attended with a fun, joyous and often noisy atmosphere.  I imagine it's exactly how loud the group of shepherds were after the sights they had seen!

It was also a Christmas with tears from a child who was hurt by his peers.  Nathan went out on a fire call and came back with tears running down his face and heaving shoulders.  This was the first time I've seen him show that type of emotion in a while.  Unkindness was spewed from someone about his inability to write things down quickly and it transported him right back down where he often feels; at the bottom.  He told me he feels worthless.  I wish so much of the world's ugliness wasn't always directed at him.

Of course, my mama's heart was broken and I went to bed with my own tears, and slept fitfully.  I awoke with a headache but with a new resolve that I would do a better job showing not just Nathan, but all my children that they are valuable in God's eyes, even in their ordinariness.

We live in a world that values strength and success and popularity.  We feel such pride when our child makes the in-group and is the star athlete.  We puff up when we hear words that stress how our child has excelled.  But what if they are just ordinary?  Unknown or awkward?  What if they are of average intelligence or disabled?  What if they are plain looking or even homely?  Does the same pride run through your being?

I think we spend so much time focusing on the physical and the exterior that we forget about the things that really count.  We forget to teach our child kindness and including other and reaching out to those who are excluded.  We forget to teach them values such as diligence and patience and joy.  When our children are sad or hurt, we run to fix their problems for them. 

Yet, in the process of trying to make their world perfect, we forget that sometimes hurt and hardship build character.  When they fail in life, we can hurt with our children but then we have to teach them how to work through it.  I can't change the harshness of Nathan's environment.  I can't call up the fire department or other people who cause him pain and ask them to be kind.  But I can talk to my son and teach him how to respond.  I can remind him of the many ways we know him to be valuable.  I can instill in him values that will hopefully help him to respond with kindness to someone else going through difficulties.

Ordinary is okay because sometimes it's the ordinary who learn the greatest lessons.  The gift of ordinary was one of our Christmas lessons this year.