I love it when something so ordinary becomes holy. I randomly picked up a book last month that has been conveniently resting on my bookshelf, collecting dust since who-knows-when-I-read-it-last. The book, An Altar in the World, by Barbara Brown Taylor is utter spiritual awakening - and her poetic words of wisdom continue to ring in my ears as I try to be more attentive to the world around me.
In one of the chapters, Taylor talks about Moses encountering God in the burning bush. Moses had to do one of those "double takes" when he glimpsed the fiery orange blaze from the corner of his eye. And he had to be curious enough to stop what he was doing to get a closer look. Moses could have very easily walked on and continued his work. But perhaps something inside of him nagged at his attention the way my dog won't leave me alone when he wants more food. And so Moses stopped his normal routine, and in doing so, his ordinary life suddenly became full of holy purpose. Moses met God and he found his calling.
Now, like Taylor goes on to say, I'm certainly not Moses and I've never seen a bush that was burning but not consumed by fire. But tonight, as I was casually walking over to the t.v. to turn it on (I am in such a veg out mood it's not even funny...), I happened to catch a glimpse of a glowing thumbnail moon out the backdoor. "Aw, that's pretty," I thought as I started to sit down on the couch. And then I remembered Barbara Brown Taylor's anecdote about Moses...it slapped me in the face and kicked me off the couch. Approximately two seconds later, I was standing outside on the back porch (on a very chilly May evening, by the way), practically squinting at this tiny sliver of moon in the deep blue, sun-setting sky.
How could something so far away shine so brightly? And, all of a sudden, I realized that I am small. (And, no, I'm not just now - at age 29 - realizing how short I am....). I'm talking about the mere, ordinary fact that I am just a tiny, miniscule spec in an enormous, colorful, life-giving universe.
After weeks of feeling inadequate, of being in a strange mood, and feeling too heavily the pressures of life....I looked at the moon and said 'thank you' to God. Thank you for making this ginormous world. Thank you for creating the smaller light...So that when the bigger light goes to sleep for the night, those of us who are searching can still look up and see something shining in the dark. What a peaceful reminder that we are never alone. What a gentle reminder of how big a world and how tiny our perspective can often be.
I am glad (for many reasons) that Moses got curious when he caught a glimpse of orange glow in the corner of his eye. I am glad that the person writing Moses' story thought to include this ordinary detail. I am glad that I decided to pick up An Altar in the World last month to read it again. And I am glad that the person who wrote it decided to tell this story of Moses. For through this story, she reminds us all to pay attention to how God beckons our attention in the world around us.
I love it when something so ordinary becomes holy. Or...better yet, when the holiness that is the ordinary causes me to stop, notice, and humbly whisper...thank you.