Our ordinary, fascinating lives

Our ordinary, fascinating lives August 2, 2011

Our ordinary lives, fascinating and wild
J Rosenfeld, Flickr.
The Scripture says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” The psalmist uses the phrase to talk about our origins, how we were “skillfully” formed by God. I think we can view the sentiment as more than that, however. I think we can take it as an invitation to view all of a person’s life as fearful and wonderful.

“Marvelous are Your works,” says the psalmist, and that includes us, not only our conception but our whole lives. God not only makes us but also sustains us. Our development doesn’t stop just because we’re born. Our ongoing creation is full of wonder, grace, and things of fascination.

You know how it is. You’ve been friends with someone for a while. Suddenly you discover that he can play the guitar or mandolin — and surprisingly well to boot. You find out that a colleague once had a radically different career than the one you now share — he, say, ran a restaurant, or maybe she worked as a park ranger. I was delighted to discover the other day that a colleague was once a ballet dancer! I had no idea.

Spending time with someone reveals wild and amazing things about them: a hidden talent, a certain capacity or skill, a curious streak or fancy. Did you know that Susan can turn her hand to grafting walnut trees, and Mark has an original LP collection that fills one wall of his garage?

We are all unknown countries, each with surprising topography, much of it unexplored even by ourselves. Exploring the ravines of personality and past experience, each bend and twist carved by the loving providence of God, is one of friendship’s singular joys. And isn’t this one of the distinct pleasures of children, that they surprise you at every turn, that every day is a discovery, a revelation?

Marriage makes this adventure of discovery uniquely possible. The chance to spend years, a lifetime, in the nooks and crannies of another is something wholly unto itself. And there’s a rare reciprocity possible here as well. We all want to be discovered and fully appreciated by another; no one has opportunity or privilege to explore so deeply and thoroughly as our spouse. Knowing and being known is the rare promise of being married.

All this refers us back to our creator and sustainer. God inscribes these mysterious passages in our lives. Some are beautiful and arresting, straight from his pen. Others require his careful editing, the process by which he works all for our good. And like the psalmist, we praise him for what he’s done in our lives and the lives of those we love.

Question: What wonderful things hide beneath the surface of those you love?

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