The Beautiful Ordinary

Traveler’s Tip #331
The road less traveled is narrow, winding, and mostly uphill. Take it anyway. The view’s worth it and there’s almost never any traffic.
 

After a two-week tour with the remarkable Randy and Leslie Stonehill (and Nigel the unflappable and odd-looking tour dog) I find myself the sailor home from the sea. Feeling ragged but Spirit-filled. There were so many wonderful people along the way, it’s sad to see them in the rear-view mirror. What an amazing miracle, this family of God!
 
Uncle Rand is living history and I love to pry stories out of him. Writing Love Broke Through and listening to the engineer’s pressing of Jackson Browne’s For Every Man with Keith Green, Moon Pies with Mark Heard, Abbey Road (enough said), Ringo Starr hitting him up for a ride after a party in London, the grumpy Scottish codger and his false directions to the concert venue (now, follow everything I told ye and you’ll be…  NO WHERE NEAR IT!)
 
I ask him, “Is there anyone you haven’t met or anywhere you haven’t played?”
 
He says, “Did I ever tell you about that time in Outer Mongolia?”
 
This is the way it works. So begins another truth is stranger than fiction tale about grey-out power surges, chain smoking interpreters, and an overabundance of Fanta Orange Soda. A person could put Randy in the corner instead of a TV and save a bundle on the cable bill. Great for long drives.
 
On the Washington coast we stopped to visit a precious brother struggling with a debilitating disease who’s been a fan of Randy’s since the early seventies. What a blessing. Tears ran freely as Randy played and spent some time. I don’t believe anyone wanted it to be over.
 
Later, back in the car, we talked again.
 
Randy looked thoughtful. “You know, earlier, when we were talking about those shows at Red Rocks?”
 
“Sure.” Frankly, I was a little jealous. It’s been one of my dreams to play Red Rocks ever since U2’s Under a Blood Red Sky.
           
“Red Rocks was cool, but that living room back there? Those are the important gigs, don’t you think? The eternal ones. I think that’s the stuff that really means something in the big scheme of things.”
 
Okay, maybe I feel better about never playing Red Rocks. Because I’ve known a lot of places like that living room. And he’s right of course. The concerts, all the nice people at the product table afterwards, the travel—it’s all wonderful, but the fact is God is in the beauty of the ordinary.
 
I know this for a fact. I’ve seen Him in the eyes of third-world children. In the bent frames of the elderly. He’s the lover of office workers and mailmen. He contends with passion and intensity for the hearts of hookers and preachers and convicts and the guys that smoke cigarettes and hold those SLOW signs, the ones that wave at you with two fingers when there’s roadwork going on.
 
Do you see yourself as ordinary? Maybe feel like you don’t mean much in the immensity of God’s plan? Think you’re just the little guy? You would be wrong. The thing is, you mean everything.
 
Here’s the thing. If you or I or Mother Theresa or Richard Ramirez or the Apostle Paul had been the only residents on this bit of dust floating in space, the grand drama—the cross and empty grave, the Christ story—would have played out exactly as did.
 
You are worth dying for to a God Whose love and attention is limitless and infinite.
 
He is God of time and universe. He is the God before whom the Kings of the earth will one day bow. He is the God that longs for you, thinks of you, every second of every day and will for all eternity.
 
He is the God of a man, broken in body but not spirit, in a small house in the trees. He holds him close and whispers wonders unimaginable of a soon home-coming where there will be no more pain. No tears, MS, or wheelchairs.
 
He is the God of us. And there is endless belonging.
 
 Thank you Lord for the beautiful ordinary.
 
I’m so glad to know You.
 
Fair winds,
Buck

1 comment

  • Davalynn Spencer

    Davalynn Spencer Colorado

    I think Helen Keller would agree with you: "The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker." How intimate the God we serve, one who, as you put it, "holds him close and whispers wonders unimaginable ..."

    I think Helen Keller would agree with you: "The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker."

    How intimate the God we serve, one who, as you put it, "holds him close and whispers wonders unimaginable ..."

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