I remember the day my uncle died.
My wife and I walked up to the house and found almost my entire family sitting quietly, crammed in his tiny living room. I remember sitting there, looking around, and feeling like I was seeing everything for the first time again. My uncle and I were close–I had been in his house often–but this was like seeing it for the first time.
Death has a way of doing that.
When someone we love closes their eyes forever, we’re reminded to open ours a little wider. When they can’t listen to that record anymore, we wish we could have had one more listen. When they can’t go fishing with anymore, we wish we had gone that one last time. We wish for the familiar most when it has passed us, not when it is near.
Familiarity can cause a certain kind of blindness to such simple and beautiful things.
May I venture to say that God himself finds beauty in everything (don’t take my word for it–see Ecc. 3:11). Jesus came to earth as a man. His birth was in a stable; His profession was Carpentry; His grand entrance into Jerusalem was on a donkey. He chose such mundane and ordinary ways to reveal Himself. Where is the grandeur in that? Where is the beauty?
If God has said that something is beautiful, we must accept either that what we see is beautiful or that we are wrong.
I love breakfast food. Doesn’t everyone?
You may remember this quote about breakfast from the TV show Parks and Recreation:
Leslie: “Why would anybody ever eat anything besides breakfast food?”
Ron: “People are idiots, Leslie.”
Breakfast food is so familiar and ordinary, but so good! So here’s what we do: You make the pancakes, have your friends to bring their favorite toppings for the batter, and together consume a multi-flavored conglomerate of breakfast cakes sure to delight both heart and soul.
I’ll never forget the second time I heard How He Loves by John Mark McMillan.
It was terrible.
The rendition was dry and calloused, and felt something akin to a paid musician singing their generic love song to my spouse. It was fake and showy and I hated every bit of it. I remember the second time, because the first time was completely different. The first time I heard this song it felt like someone actually moved my spirit–it was deep and raw. The second time around felt like an enormous pile of nothing.
You may be familiar with this song already, but perhaps you aren’t familiar with the song itself (the writer, his lyrics, and their meaning). Please, listen, and give yourself permission to hear the song and not other people’s interpretation of the song.
I trust that many of you are familiar with the Lord’s Prayer from the book of Matthew chapter six. I’d like to invite you to pray that common prayer with me this week in a new and perhaps unfamiliar way:
Our Dad, King in the sky;
Infinitely holy, intimately close.
Wed the brokenness of our dust to the perfection of Your glory.
Give us all we need for right now and release us from our sinful past, as we release others from theirs.
Keep us from the decoys, and give us the fullness of Yourself.
So how do we see the familiar? How do we revel in the routine?
Get yourself some Post-Its (or grab a stack from the junk drawer) and stick every familiar thing in your home/office/life-space that is beautiful that you may fail to normally see.
Dedicate two minutes of your time each day this week to “seeing” (sticking) the beautiful and familiar things wherever you are most familiar. If you have more time, you can write down the reason you find something familiar to be beautiful before you stick your Post-It. At the end of the week take a picture of your space covered in Post-Its with the hashtag #BeautyInTheCommon, and share your “seeing” progress so we too can see the beauty all around you!