I am convinced that our most significant response to the challenges of our age will be in the most ordinary practices. I do not say the obvious but the ordinary.

Ordinary is a great word; it means what pertains to the regular order. We live in a time when what used to be the regular order of human life—and which arguably was ordinary precisely because it was largely natural—is no longer regular. It is a serious situation when what should be ordinary has become extra-ordinary, not common or expected.

But here there is also reason for real hope. What was once ordinary, because of its very naturalness, is therefore in some sense ready at hand for the choosing. There is something thrilling about this situation. It’s like discovering a shoe or piece of clothing that was custom made for you; all you have to do is put it on. At first it might seem a little strange. But then it starts to feel, well, ordinary—in the wonderfully positive sense of the term. Like your own home.

Spring, perhaps more than any other season, constitutes a clarion call to the ordinary in human life—an ‘ordinary,’ by the way, that is anything but drab or hum drum! “Nothing is so beautiful as Spring,” declares Gerard Manley Hopkins in the first line of his poem ‘Spring.’ A bold statement; but can we doubt it? Surely, its beauty is multi-faceted even beyond our imagining. And what is more ‘ordinary’ than spring?

This is the season that speaks to all of us. We are young again; wild at heart; brimming with life; ready to grow. That is, if we are willing to hear an inner voice.

To say that we are too busy to respond would be like being at a ball, finding that the most lovely woman in the world—indeed our beloved—is anxiously awaiting our invitation to dance, and we turn away. What could reasonably prevent us from stepping up to this dance?

The upcoming weeks are the time to hear the call of the ‘ordinary’ deep in our hearts, and respond. Let us get ready to turn to our loved ones, and together enact what we are being prompted to do this spring.

Will it be the incomparable work of sowing seeds and growing bodily (and spiritual!) sustenance from the earth? Or taking other steps to make our little yard more of a steading that grows in beauty under our stewardly care? Will it be identifying returning bird species and noticing and even learning their songs? Or will it be identifying trees and wildflowers and their steady parade of other-worldly blooming? Perhaps it will be simply going out to be in nature with an intentional eye toward discovering our place in it—a place we belong, a place that without us will remain starkly empty, and apart from which we too will be empty.

This spring we can rediscover the extraordinary richness of truly human life by leaning into profoundly ordinary activities. ~ ~ ~

NEXT TUESDAY, MARCH 19. Our NEW PODCAST! The Intentional Household: A LifeCraft Podcast. Take a deep dive into radical renewal of your home, from crafting the personal relationships at its heart, to planting time, porch time and prayer time. Join John and Sofia Cuddeback, and friends, colleagues, and other guests. We’re ready to tackle the hard questions, together. Join us in this adventure.

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