“We are not called by God to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love.” —Jean Vanier (founder of L’Arche)
Doing ordinary things with extraordinary love–what does this really mean? What would you consider an ordinary thing and how can this small act be transformed for someone else into extraordinary love? Because if we can put our finger on this answer, I think the world would be a genuinely better place.
Normally when I think about the giving and receiving of love, I wonder how my own ordinary actions could love someone else. But tonight, my mind is heading somewhere new, and I am pondering how ordinary acts from friends, family and acquaintances bring love to me. Sometimes a sip, and sometimes a tap opening into longer flowing blessings. Sometimes we see the blessings; however, it’s easy for small acts to go unnoticed. When we take the time to notice, it reminds us that we are loved, we are not invisible, we matter.
I invite you to reflect on your day. What did someone do to love you today? Something so small you might not even have noticed? Something that perhaps made you feel loved in the moment, but you were too busy to let your heart absorb it? Or some moment of love you pushed away because you didn’t think you deserved it?
Today, when I stop to think about it, held many ordinary acts from someone else, which felt like extraordinary gifts of love to me. They weren’t large magnificent gestures; they were just ordinary people doing beautiful things. But it wasn’t until I wrote this blog that I really noticed them. Here are a few that come to mind. After running with my running group today with Sanctuary London, feeling tired and chilled and without energy, someone offered to make me a tea. A small gesture that meant a lot. The only thing that can really warm me up when I’m chilled to the bone after winter running is a hot shower. Second to that is a hot tea. When I was heading to the kitchen to get something to eat, another friend stopped me so that he could kneel down and tie my shoes. At first I told him, ‘you don’t need to do that’ but then my heart changed, and I stopped pushing away the gift. While lying on the floor in front of the fireplace, the same friend covered me with his coat to keep me warm. After coming home from a grocery errand, one of my housemates hugged me and told me I was missed. I was only gone twenty minutes, and I was missed. My roommate made me popcorn after supper tonight. Just how I like it–we call it a ‘popcorn bar.’ She made the popcorn, put it in a big bowl, and left toppings for us to add. I went for plain and beautiful: buttery with a little salt. Sounds like a small thing, but it completely cheered up my night. And then there was my cat Keko (how can I exclude her–she loves me every day in her ordinarily beautiful cat ways) who sat outside my door while I woke up, crying her tiny, sweet, morning-wake-up meows, telling me through the door that she wanted so much to be with me and that the day was waiting. Her love through that door was light through the window, landing on me.
Gifts of love can fall through our fingers, if we don’t catch them.
How were you loved today? What ordinary things did someone in your life (or a stranger) do for you that felt like an act of extraordinary love? Maybe it didn’t feel that way in the moment, but looking back, you can see it.
When love comes for you, let it land. It’s the same as a bird landing on a branch–quiet, and startlingly beautiful while it looks around to see if anyone noticed.
Please feel free to share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you.