Across the Pastor’s Desk: When ordinary is extraordinary

Published 9:37 am Friday, June 3, 2016

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Janet White

I remember the spring when I had the unusual experience of keeping two vigils simultaneously.  One was the wait for the birth of our granddaughter, Carolina. The other was with my friend, Nancy, who was dying of breast cancer.  For about a month we knew our granddaughter could be born any day. At the same time, Nancy was slowly slipping away.  Then, within two days, Carolina was born and Nancy was gone.

To be so close to both of these events simultaneously was remarkable. On both ends of life, there were some beautiful common experiences.

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First, I was struck by the fact that our granddaughter was born into so much love. She was welcomed by parents and family who were thrilled to see her arrive safely. The room was full of excitement, even as we were all exhausted for want of sleep.

Nancy, too, was surrounded by love as she died. Her husband and daughter, who cherished her and whom she cherished, were with her. They, too, saw her safe arrival — not to this world, but from this world into the next. They were exhausted from the vigil they had kept by her side, but trusting that, for Nancy, new life had begun.

Janet White

Janet White

Through the whole month I realized that for most people these were ordinary days. For these two families, though, they were extraordinary days. In truth there are no ordinary days, because for someone that day is extraordinary.

It struck me how right it was to have so much love on both ends of life — the beginning for one and the end for another. We are blessed to be surrounded by love. And, it seems to me, that it’s what Jesus wants for us and from us. Ordinary days are made extraordinary by the love that we share for each other.

Everyone’s life is punctuated by extraordinary moments — moments where you can’t miss the love. We are in the midst of another season of graduations from high school and college. Extraordinary days. Weddings are taking place, including the wedding of our son.  Extraordinary.  Babies are being born, people are dying. Extraordinary.

My friend Nancy was one month younger than me, a stark reminder that we don’t know how much time on this earth we have. Nancy made the most of her time. I hope to make the most of mine. When I am with my grandchildren, I recognize that most of their days will be ordinary. But I want their time spent with me, their grandmother, to be extraordinary because of the love we share.

May we cherish even the ordinary days. May we never forget that for someone today, this is an extraordinary day. And may each of us find ways to reach out to each other, where love fills in the gaps, and makes everyday — even ordinary days — extraordinary.


Janet White is the interim senior pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Albert Lea.