Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Grace of the Ordinary

I am so completely depleted.

Partly because when I got so incredibly sick a few weeks ago, there were few opportunities to take a break. Partly because when I have taken breaks, and slept and slept and slept, I have awakened exhausted by the thought of all I need to do to catch up. Partly because I have been so affected by that blip on the call-and-ordination timeline. And partly because religious celebrations are still way, way, way beyond my capacity to absorb.

Years ago, in one of my graduate classes, we were assigned as a reading a short essay on the topic of grace. One of the phrases in the essay has never left me: the writer spoke of praying "for the grace of an ordinary day." At the time, our family had weathered a terrible and lengthy storm, and that seemed like a good but extremely ambitious prayer. Now it seems that anything at all ordinary is simply beyond realistic possibility, but it's what I'm planning to focus on for a good long time.

There was a lot of intensity in the past few days. Seven services in three different churches, each with a different liturgical and homiletical focus, each with its own musical tenor. Each pulling me this way, pushing me that.

Not surprisingly, I suppose, the most significant moment of all, for me, came in the form of a quiet conversation just before the beginning of a Good Friday service, with a Jesuit whom I don't know at all well, but seem to run into unexpectedly at significant junctures in my life. Or perhaps they turn out to be significant because of the brief conversations we share. He is able to move from small talk to matters of great weight with amazing speed and ease, and always manages in just a few sentences to convey something I need to hear at a time when I am actually able to hear it.

More important than the beautiful liturgies, the weighty sermons, the exquisite music. The grace of an ordinary conversation.

A little bit of Easter.


  1. Blessings and hugs.

  2. Prayers for you and yours, for a day or two of simple ordinariness - or even a few hours now and then.

  3. Sending you hugs, and yes I know what you mean - the grace of an ordinary day. Such a gift.

  4. I've just read your Thursday-to-today postings. The photo makes my eyes sting. Such a precious and lovely little brood of chicks...

    We were "busy" this Easter weekend. I didn't write any of the thoughts I had inside. You wrote some of the feelings for me, as you often do; thank you.

    I wished that I was going to worship on Easter, or Saturday eve, but I just couldn't do it in church. Reading & reflecting at home was the best I could do. But I felt the hope and joy in my heart this year, and it kind of surprised me with its intensity. I admire you for getting through what sounds like a marathon of church services, with grace (pun intended).

    Sending love and prayers for some restful days for you.
    XOXO Karen