The Extra in the Ordinary 

Written on February 2, 2017

     “Let’s do something that’s not boring.”  That’s what I heard a student say to her group as I passed by them.  That made me smile.  Was she suggesting SHE was boring?  That her friends were?  A comment that may lead her into a boiling pot of defensive push back!

     I realize that I am drawn into seeking out wonder and mystery.  I know that much of life is routine, but lately my desire is moving toward living in earnest dependence on revelations and unseen forces that make up a good chunk of reality; too many don’t seem to see this, notice it, pay attention to it.  It is as though they have eyes, but can’t see, ears but will not hear.  

     Where I live, the landscape is such that there’s a pull downward.  While out walking you must actively hold your body back, lest you accelerate and crash into the earth.  I want to live by the Pull, in the full expectation of experiencing the extra in the ordinary.  Life is lived at such a frenetic frenzied pace, that it takes intensional action to slow down and appreciate the magnificence of what we are given.  I say it with emphasis: what we have is a gift.  Every breath, every thought, all the bird sounds, rain drops, snow drop flowers, all together they come to us as a gift.

     Writers like George MacDonald are said to have invented a genre we now call the fantasy novel.  The notion of “fantasy” appears to describe the fantastic, what soars the imagination, and after all is imaginary, unreal, not for real, pretend.  But is it?  I am drawn to such literature because there we catch a sense of things of value, something worthy of pursuit.  We’ve been created with the notion that within there is stuff that is precious, but if we’re to find this treasure we’ll need to dig deeply.  Too often we are deceived into believing the treasure is discovered in literal “things” and so we stuff our homes, run out of room and go out and rent a space to store more of the stuff.  Glutted with stuff!  Choking on it, pressing on and hoping some thing else will finally fill the hunger.  Instead of being filled, we are left with the taste of filth.

     It was back in January 2014.  I found myself out of sorts.  Indecisive, moving in one direction only to ask myself, “What am I doing?”  Trying a new task, I am left feeling empty.  I feel useless.  I feel a stranger in a place I’ve lived in for five years.  I feel overwhelmed by all the needs I see around me.  Confused, I begin to feel as though it was inevitable that I should fall back into that hole of darkness and despair, walking again into the place where there is no light.  Clinical depression, where no matter how good life may be, it all seemed hopeless.  That is a place you can’t crawl out of without great assistance.

     I walk up to my beloved, sharing my fear I’m back inside that dread I have no desire to bein.  She, wisely, asks probing invitations to express my plight.  We decide to go for a drive.  As soon as I closed the front door, it was as if I had stepped into a flood of light.  Coming from outside of my own mind, an invading thought, welcome, warm.  “It seems as if you are under attack.”

     The exact moment that thought pranced through, the destructive delusion lifted off of me.  What deceit and deception is this, to actually become convinced something is true, when in actuality it is blatantly false.  How can we explain such experience?  I am convinced that there is such a thing as mental health.  I am equally convinced it often is not just mental.  There are unseen forces actively at work.  Some of these hold us captive, others set us free, deliver us.  There are more of these than the deceptive who deal out despair, desolation, destruction.  Out of jail, just with a random thought that was, it turns out, not random at all.

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