Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Everyday Special

"A potter has the right to do whatever he wants with his clay.  He can make something for a special occasion or something for everyday use from the same lump of clay."  - Romans 9:21

It's not uncommon to find someone existentially frustrated with their life.  It's a big world, and we feel small (which isn't a bad thing, at least for me) and there's got to be something out there that's more than this.  That's more than our daily commute, our weekly paycheck, our family get-togethers, our dinners, our leftovers, our Sunday services, our endless cycles that keep us stuck even when we feel like we're constantly moving.  

And one of the ways we solve this frustration is with platitudes.  Trite little things that seem to suppose to make us feel better about wherever we're at, and if we take them at their words, they do.  For awhile.  They are half-statements that try to draw us away from our sense of stuck while putting new emphasis on things like hope, purpose, and promise.  "God just has something better for you."  "It's not your time."  "God created you for something, and it will be better even than this."

Right?  Except that as time wears on, we hear these things over and over and we're planning our lives around that one moment that God does have for us.  That one time that is ours.  That one thing we were created to do.  Then we're grinding our wheels and waiting for something so crazy as one and wondering why God's "plan" can't come sooner.

See, we're all convinced - and when we're not convinced, the peace we give ourselves is to become convinced - that we're created for a special occasion.  That there is one niche, one purpose, one grand moment or thing that God is going to do through us (that will also be to us and for us) and the rest of our time here is waiting on that day.

What if that's not the case?  What if you weren't created for a special occasion?

What if God intended you for everyday use?

This isn't a world of special occasions.  As much as YouTube and Facebook and Twitter and news would like to have us believe, it's not a place where we're just watching everybody get their one grand moment that is so super consequential and then moving on to other things.  It's not a fireworks display of lives exploding onto the scene in magnificent glory and then fading away, never to have another moment.  

Most of what goes on here is day-to-day.  That's just how it is.  And when you're stuck in the day-to-day and wishing it didn't have to be this way, it's easy to think about that big moment.  You know, that special occasion.  That thing that's gonna be so much greater than this and maybe even get you out of here.  That thing that's going to make you feel purposed.

Maybe we ought to take those energies, though, and put them into purposing our every day.  We have to consider that, like the majority of this world, maybe we were created for such as this: the daily grind.  Maybe our influence isn't going to be one grand spectacle, one master gala, one magnificent moment; maybe it's going to be ground out over a lifetime of small, seemingly-insignificant encounters and choices.  The "here and there" instead of the "Here I am!"

I think that would be ok.  If you think about it, you would probably agree.  Because we've known these people.  We've known these people who live quiet lives of absolute grace, who spread their purpose out over a lifetime and don't ever think about "that moment" because they're too busy loving in this one.  Harold, as I wrote about in June at his passing, was one of these people.  My great-grandmother, whom I greatly admire, was one of these people.  Generations of people right now who I am honored to know and to call friends are some of these people.  Paul - the Apostle Paul - was one of these people, spreading his purpose out over the provinces.  These people aren't just killing time waiting on their special occasion; their everyday is special because they purpose it that way.  Without making a big deal of it.  And I think that honestly, most of us are created to be some of these people.

If that's a hard pill to swallow, there is a bit of a comfort: even those people get their day.  They get their special occasion, their chance to shine, that awesome time when their purpose is fully revealed and wholly known and celebrated and appreciated.  We typically refer to that as their funeral.  So you've got that to look forward to.

But think about this.  Think about these men and women you have known who were created for everyday use, who spent their lives in day-to-day living and loving.  Think about how you think about them.  They encourage you.  They inspire you.  They strengthen you.  You smile just thinking about them.  (Admit it.  You're thinking of someone, and you're smiling, and you're thinking about how you wish you could be more like them.)  You're not thinking of that one time....  You're thinking of a whole series of "one time..."s and others are, too.  And in all this thinking, don't you think that's kind of something special?

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