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The sacramental ordinary

A few years ago, I had the privilege of interviewing Professor Devin Brown, an expert on C.S. Lewis, for a magazine article. Dr. Brown talked about the “sacramental ordinary” moments in Lewis’ novels, especially the Chronicles of Narnia. Moments that are on the surface, ordinary: like Lucy having tea with the faun, Mr. Tumnus. And yet, there’s something in the description of that moment that makes it sacred, special.  When he introduced me to the idea, I began to watch for such moments in my own life: moments that seem ordinary, and yet, are imbued with sacred meaning.

I’m writing on my laptop, on my bed surrounded by half folded laundry. In my daughter’s room down the hall, my kids are hanging photos. My daughter, the photographer, asked her brother, the graphic artist, for opinions on which photos to display where. They discuss color and composition, banter and laugh. It is in many ways an ordinary night at home.

But I’m aware of the gift: my kids not only get along but also have a friendship where they can laugh together, hang photos together. Their easy way of being together is not typical of teenage siblings, I think. There is a sacred gift in their friendship–a gift that extends not just to the two of them, but to me as their mom.

As a family, we’re in a season of many challenges–far more than I can explain here. In the midst of that, I’m thankful for the friendship between my 18 year old daughter and 16 year old son. The murmurs of quiet conversation down the hall offers a moment of sacramental ordinary, flooding my soul with gratitude.

I’m also aware that in less than six months, my daughter will be moving across the country to go to college. I know how much I will miss her–and how much her little brother will miss her. These sacramental ordinary moments take on a deeper significance in light of the impending changes.

Do you take time to notice the blessings of ordinary moments? The smells and sights was you take that first sip of morning coffee while staring out the kitchen window; the sudden ah-ha of conversation with a good friend; the startling revelation of new flowers blooming in the front yard. Be on the lookout for such moments, moments of sacramental ordinary, and share them with us here.

6 Comments

  1. To your list of possible sacramental ordinaries I’d add reading a post that speaks to my heart. This one did.

    I have also experienced the grace evident in seeing my kids together, or being with them one on one, or all of us together or any combination. They are both home from school for Spring Break this week and the other night we sat down together at the table for the first time in a long while. The sacramental was present in the ordinary there too.

    Thanks Keri, for giving me cause to think on these things again.

    Tim

    P.S. Aimee Byrd just posted a piece I did on how men in the church need to get fitted for a wedding gown as part of the Bride of Christ: http://www.housewifetheologian.com/the-bride-of-christ-is-not-the-borg-collective/
    Hope you get a chance to read it over.

  2. The wisteria blooming over our front entry pergola. The soft and beautiful fragrance transports me back to my grandmother’s back yard and I feel connected to her again, even 23 years after she went to be with the Lord. It happens every year, and I don’t even mind that all the fallen petals get tracked into the house on every single shoe that crosses the entry door.

  3. Thank you for this beautiful reflection on the sacred in the everyday. Sometimes it is hard–in reflecting on what was (especially as a writer of fact, for myself) and dreaming for what might be ahead–to find the sacredness of now. I love the poetry of “sacramental ordinary”–like my pastor always says, “that will preach.” I am going to let the beauty of those words settle and then I feel a blog post or article coming on :).

    Thank you! Blessings and Prayers,
    Teresa

  4. When the weather is pleasant I sit outside and read (and nap). Every now and then I put my book down, get out of my head, and really look around at the natural beauty God has created. Lately, it’s been fun to notice the squirrel ear size leaves blossom into bunny ears 🙂

  5. Love the little glimpses of everyday life you’ve shared. all beautiful! And Tim, I’m going to click over now and read your post!

  6. Keri, just moments after reading this post yesterday I heard my son and daughter in the other room laughing together. How wonderful that God got me primed for that by reading this first!

    Tim

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