Grace Notes - Grace in the ordinary

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By The Staff

Editor's note: Nancy Kennedy took a few days off this week. This is a past favorite column that's also in her book, "Lipstick Grace."

These are ordinary days. That's what a Catholic friend told me. In the Catholic calendar, in between all the fancy days like Advent and Lent, Epiphany, Easter and Pentecost, the days are called ordinary days.

Plain old days. Just ordinary. Nothing fancy. Kind of regular.

I looked it up on the Internet and found that there are a whole lot more ordinary days than non-ordinary ones, which pretty much describes life. A whole lot of ordinary with some fancy thrown in here and there.

Some folks think that's a bad thing, but I'm not one of them. I love daily and regular and plain and same.

At Elsie Meloche's 102nd birthday party, she talked about the games she remembered playing as a kid - jacks and tag and hopscotch. She lamented that being a kid is just too complicated these days.

I'm not 102, but I tend to agree. Once I was telling someone about how my sister and I used to sit on the curb outside our house and play in the gutter water. The person looked at me as if I had said I liked to eat worms on toast. So, I said, "Hey, if you've never played in gutter water and made dams with rocks and Popsicle sticks then you haven't lived."

These are ordinary days.

The sun rises and sets. The rain falls in the late afternoon. Grapes are 98 cents a pound.

The other day I watched lizards play on my front walkway. I pulled a few weeds. I scoured my kitchen sink and told my husband I loved him. I ate a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner and washed my kitchen floor with warm water and a bit of ammonia.

My daughter called to say that my granddaughter glue-sticked paper all over the back window and the hot Georgia sun had baked it on and that it was annoying to scrape all the paper bits off, but amusing all the same.

One summer when we lived in an apartment in California, my kids and all the neighbor kids spent nearly every day in the carport playing a game they called Zoom-a, Zoom-a. They flattened a cardboard box, then as one kid sat on it, another would drag it. By the end of each day they were as dirty as coal miners, but it was good. It was all good.

It was ordinary and so very, very good.

When you think about it, as grand and glorious as God is, he mostly uses the ordinary to speak to people. When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River on their way to the Promised Land, God told them to collect stones from the middle of the river to use as memorials.

Jesus talked about sparrows, about gardens and sheep, pennies and cups of water given in his name. He used bread and fish to feed thousands, bread and wine to symbolize his sacrificial death.

He healed with mud and spit, made furniture with his hands, was crucified on an old, rugged cross. He made the ordinary sacred, and he makes our ordinary lives extraordinarily sacred as well.

Sometimes life is big and grand. You win the lottery, eat filet mignon, go on Oprah. But mostly you don't. Mostly you just floss your teeth and wait while your tires are being rotated and balanced. You clean lint out of the dryer trap and shop for canned stewed tomatoes.

You say your prayers and count your blessings, you change the porch light when it goes out, you eat ice cream right out of the carton. And if you're lucky or fortunate or blessed - whatever you choose to call it - God meets you there, right smack in the middle of the ordinary. Father, Son and Holy Ghost joining in while you fold your socks.

In The Valley of Vision, a Puritan prayer says, "Thou hast made summer and winter, day and night; each of these revolutions serves our welfare and is full of Thy care and kindness."

The sun rises and sets. Kids glue-stick paper to windows. Lizards play. Babies cry. God draws near.

These are ordinary days.