We have hit the post-Christmas lull. For many, it means dry January and new year resolutions and goals. Ordinary time comes at a time when the winter months can feel less exciting and more like a long slog until spring. More so than most years, this Ordinary time comes when we’ve already been trudging for months through a pandemic. Spring and long sunny days feel very far away.
Packing up our Advent and Christmas decor always has a twinge of sadness, but also left us with a new perspective this year. We had decided to put our dining room table in a new spot in order to accommodate our Christmas tree. When we packed everything up and took out the tree, we noticed the new set up had left us a little more space. It needed some tweaking and adjustments, but after a morning of moving furniture we found ourselves with more room to breathe.
I am not so busy. I am not tracking packages or worrying over possible travel plans. Don’t get me wrong - Christmas time was deeply joyful in our home. I love having a Christmas tree and am always thrilled to make space for it. But sometimes the things that deserve and need space in our lives, also come to a point where we don’t need them as much - and that’s ok. We can’t hold everything at once and letting go gives us the space to let God in a little more. For me that has included everything from a new furniture arrangement to letting go of a job.
There is such a simplicity to the call of Andrew and the other disciple. No huge questions. Samuel is called while he is sleeping, a most ordinary and daily event. Ordinary doesn’t have to be dull or boring. It can afford the opportunity to listen a bit more closely. With the business and chaos of remote learning and work from home, it can be an intense challenge to listen at all. The space I have been able to make is a little bit scary - it feels very big and open! - and I have to fight to desire to simply fill it. With the extra time in my day I have now, today’s gospel seems an invitation from the Holy Spirit. To hear Jesus ask me ‘What are you looking for?’ And as I ponder that question, to simply stay and remain with Jesus. These are simple and ordinary questions. They nonetheless leave me challenged to hold the space I have and not let it become crowded and cluttered.
Is there a part of your life that could use a little more ‘ordinary?’ What things - physical, mental or emotional - are taking up too much space in your life? What is it you may really be looking for? How can you remain with God in this ordinary time?