THE (NOT SO) ORDINARY LIFE OF SUE
As far back as I can remember, I have questioned what my purpose is in this life. There are millions of people and according to my faith each of us has a distinct purpose and plan designed before us all the while we are but a speck in eternity. But how do we find our purpose in this ordinary life? I am guessing that I am not alone asking this question. We’ve been told that life is a journey, life is a mystery and life is absolutely not a bowl of cherries. We’ve been told to make lemonade when we are given lemons. And, we’ve been told to read the Bible. Somehow these bits of advice are supposed to give our lives more sense and meaning; to empower us to keep moving and push forward from the ordinary. Push us to a place where the “not so ordinary” is somehow considered (by someone else that is just as ordinary), to be a better place to be.
I lavish these slick cliches and thoughtful anecdotes. But nothing is more meaningful than the Scriptures are to me. Somehow the words jump out and my life seems to make a bit more sense. I hear a Scripture or a verse on the radio or at church and it draws me to read into it further.. An “ah ha” moment usually follows with a renewed spirit and outlook on my life. “Why hadn’t I ever seen THAT Scripture before? I sure could have used that when…… (you define the time when)” I need to hear and see and read words that fill me up in this (not so) ordinary life. Just like a car needs gas or when we are hungry we eat, our spirits need to be filled up and renewed. That is what makes all of our lives not so ordinary after all. What fills your spirit is what makes me me and you, you. Our souls grow on what we feed it. Life is never ordinary and either is anyone. I’ve learned that in looking for the ordinary I can find the extraordinary and that is where I find my purpose.
My not so ordinary life started in a suburb of Buffalo, called Kenmore, New York on July 24, 1963. Sue Carol Eardley (Moore) is a Wednesday’schild and as the old fairy tale goes, “Wednesday’s child is full of woe.” HA! I was doomed right from the get go! Woe? Really!? Webster’s Dictionary defines woe as “great sorrow or grief; misfortune.” Who wrote that rhyme anyway? Mother Goose? And why did I have to enter this world on a Wednesday!? Anyone who knows me well, knows that I carry the burdens of everyone else’s ordinary life on top of my ordinary shoulders. Together that makes me a martyr, a neurotic and a masochist at best. My mother used to call me an “actress” for my talent of causing a scene and drama and being able to cry at almost anything. Little did my mother know that if I was crying, it was for a reason – I feel everything. God gave me a gift of great sorrow to one day bring hope to those that can’t find it. My husband thinks I love to be the center of attention which I find not to be so true but a misunderstanding of my ability to find a person to talk to anywhere I go. I love people, I love to know them and I am not shy about it. All that being said, it explains why God chose me to bare the burden of woe. And the ability to turn woe into hope. I am strong and I can see people, things and places with a vision of gratitude and appreciation. I can see beauty in the storms and learn from them and spread the Good Word. Life, no matter how ordinary, how awful it seems at times, how difficult, is a gift.
I recently learned that perspective can either be a prison or a doorway to our purpose. I have escaped the prison of my misfortune and can use it to see the the ordinary as a creation of beauty, even in times of woe. At the age of 52 I am beginning to again see the ordinary of the world with the wonder of a child. As we age we lose the capacity to do that. God tells us to “come to Him like a child”. But He also knows the hardships of our world will take away that innocence and wonder. The teen years are hard on just about everyone. It is here that seeing a dandelion blown into the wind is not considered fun anymore. Rebellion is the hallmark of achieving independence. It’s part of growing up. Losing the wonder of a child and morphing into a zombie like creature you would stake your house on he/she doesn’t belong to you is just one more phase. And they are supposed to act like that. Life is all about phases. Its how we learn and grow as a person and spiritually feed our souls. Adults would be a whole lot better off if admission was made that we don’t know it all and let God take control. Take a break from the board room and look outside. Better yet, go there and study the leaf of a tree or find a toad and say hello. I have many friends of my garden named “toad” – the best part about them is they just listen.
I am breaking out of the cocoon of my youthful days and seeing God’s grace in my middle age. I’m getting to the days where I want life to slow down some. I’m kinda done with the climb of middle class America and keeping up with the Joneses. The past 28 years of my life, with no regret, has been devoted to caring for my 4 children and husband. That’s OK because I wouldn’t trade a moment.
But it has been busy and the easiest thing to do to is to lose sight of grace in each ordinary moment. The not so ordinary moments that send us reeling in woe harden our perspective. We can get trapped in a hamster wheel because we are so busy being busy,confused and woeful. Romans 12:12 says “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Enjoy this day. Find one chance to find your toad or whatever is part of your extraordinary life that will water your soul.