As a stay at home mom, I live a pretty ordinary life. Now that I’m not working, I have considered it to be a bit mundane at times. It’s a simple life, even amidst the sometimes difficult road our family navigates with autism. The challenges we have are not special. I’m not doing any big things nor am I accomplishing amazing feats over here. But I am trying to live this ordinary life in an extraordinary way.
Striving For Greatness
In this age, everyone is looking to be or do the next great thing. We live in a world where the number of likes and comments determines our worth. The pictures we take are solely to show others all the great places we get to travel to, all the great food we get to eat, or the next awesome thing we’ve done or achieved. We take selfie after selfie, hoping to convince ourselves and others that we are someone to follow. And I’ve fallen trap to these false notions of greatness too. I believed I was only making a difference writing on this blog if hundreds were reading it. As a result, I don’t feel satisfied and keep striving for that misplaced sense of greatness that is an illusion.
But recently a dear friend reminded me of something so important. She made me realize that a small life like mine is exactly the kind that can make a difference. An ordinary life gives me the opportunity to do the great things God calls us to do. Because the pride that comes with social media or internet greatness might get in the way of the kind of greatness that truly matters. Staying humble and living a simple, little life, can still be extraordinary in a few very important ways.
A Very Ordinary Life
So you’re probably saying, why would anyone be happy with an ordinary life? What can you possibly accomplish? The answer is, more than you can possibly imagine! If you are living an ordinary life with extraordinary virtue, you can accomplish the most important, amazing things in this life. It’s not to say any of us are perfect at it. I for one make a boat load of mistakes. But there are three little words that make big things happen in our world…faith, hope, and love.
They’re all so important and also very necessary in life, even in the parts of life that can sometimes seem monotonous. For instance, where is the love in washing dishes, doing laundry, and cooking meals every single day? It’s hard to see it, but it’s there. These things are little and ordinary, but they are fueled by my love for my family.
It’s especially evident when you have a child with special needs. Where is the love in shuffling my kid to different activities that may be a difficult experience, trying out different therapies, exposing her to social groups that may not be welcoming, and working with her on challenging behaviors that may never change? It’s easy to love her, but hard to love others who let her down or treat her as if she is less than. How do you show love when she’s not included? If there are unfair circumstances or things that are challenging for her and our family, those are tough ones to love too. But love them all (the things and the people), we must.
Love Makes Greatness
I find that love has to basically fuel my every move. It has to be a part of all the things I do. I have to share it with every person I come in contact with. It’s not always easy (I miss the mark often). But it’s worth every effort. It’s what we are all called to do in this life. Because it’s in our persistence to love people in all the little things that we make a positive difference in our world.
And those things I mentioned in our life are all little, ordinary things. Our life has no more and no less struggle than anyone else’s. I’m not over here doing anything monumental that anyone else isn’t doing. All I can do is aspire to do all these little things in my life, with the greatest love I possibly can. That’s the greatness God wants to see in me, not some great thing I accomplish.
As Mother Theresa said, “None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” If we have faith, we know that having an extraordinary love for all the little things is where our greatness lies. It’s my hope that when things get really tough, that I will remember to love it all. I will not let the world determine what is true greatness and I will stop trying to live an extraordinary life. Because I would rather do small things with great love, then big things with no love at all.
I pray that if you’re struggling with what may be your ordinary life, that you too will discover all the ways you can live it with extraordinary virtues of faith, hope, and love. I hope the latter reminds you of where your true greatness lies. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)