Tuesday, February 16, 2010


A week before the earthquake, on our first day of school after our Christmas break, we gathered in our auditorium, all the secondary students and the teachers, and sang, among other things, the above song.

"We won’t be satisfied with anything ordinary," we sang. "We won’t be satisfied at all."

At the time, I wondered about those words. Is it true that I won't be satisfied with anything ordinary? I am pretty satisfied with the ordinary. I like my life.

I know the song isn't talking about contentment, or about the lack of contentment: not being satisfied with what you have. It's talking instead about not being satisfied with going through the motions with God, about longing for more and more of His presence.

A week after we sang that song, ordinary ended. Ordinary in the sense of normal, day to day, routine life. Ordinary gave way to crisis, abnormal, extraordinary.

Here's some more of the song:

Open up the sky, fall down like rain
We don’t want blessings, We want You
Open up the sky, fall down like fire
We don’t want anything but You

Our beloved Jesus, we just wanna see You
In the glory of Your light.
Earthly things don’t matter,
They just fade and shatter
When we’re touched by love divine.

Is that part true? Do I want God more than I want His blessings? Haitian Christians have certainly shown that it is true of them. They have refused to despair. They have gathered in their thousands to praise God and pray. They have seen that earthly things do not last; they already knew that much better than I did.

We are hearing, too, that many others are coming to Christian faith. Losing the ordinary of their everyday lives has led, for many, to searching for more of God than the ordinary. People are seeking Him now that everything else is stripped away.

So I guess it is wrong for me to wish for ordinary back - my regular life, with my work and my home and my family living together (my husband left today to go back to Haiti). I should be rejoicing because I should know that God matters more than His blessings.

And I do know that.

But I still wish for the ordinary of January 12th. I wish that January 13th had been ordinary. I wish I had taught those lesson plans that were on my desk, and worn that sweater that I left on the back of my chair and given back those papers I had just graded. I wish that I were still going in every day now to see my kids and conference with them about their writing and help them choose books to read and plan bake sales with them.

I'm not saying that God did this, made this earthquake happen so that people would turn to Him. It's well known that times of crisis do push us towards spirituality; look at September 11th, 2001 and the effect it had on people in the US. But do we really need everything to be overturned before we turn to Him? Couldn't we seek God in the midst of ordinary?

Ordinary is so beautiful, the dailiness of meals and chores and schedules, the familiar faces you greet; that's the kind of ordinary I miss. I was satisfied with it. I look forward to knowing it again. At the same time, as I try to trust God through the pain, I wonder what He will bring out of this tragedy, in the lives of Haitians and the rest of us who love Haiti. It definitely won't be ordinary.

1 comment:

Andy Bowen said...

Whenever I pray that prayer I feel scared of what it could mean. Lord, please help me to really want you and not just your blessings.