There are two things that readers of this blog should know very well.
There are no ordinary cats.
This is no ordinary time.
Actually, that’s literally true: Ordinary Time ended November 28th. If you’re a liturgical gangster like me, you know that the Christian calendar has slipped into Advent, with all its candles and purples and hopes and fears of all the years.
Especially this year.
But there’s a funny thing about Ordinary Time. It stops and starts and stops again.
You would think the seasons would play out like, well, the (meteorological) seasons: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Ordinary Time, Let’s Do It All Again.
But that would (a) give us the longest, Lentiest Lent this side of purgatory and (b) deny us the opportunities to enter and exit the ordinary.
So Ordinary Time arrives and departs repeatedly throughout the year — here for a spell in late winter, back for a long lounging visit in the summer and fall. And Ordinary Time enables us to rest in our exquisite ordinariness.
Because here’s something we know but (constantly) forget: the ordinary is exactly where it all happens.
(I have here departed the liturgical calendar, in which something rather magnificent is always and continually happening, but I digress.)
We are called to precisely this: to be ordinary, outstandingly.
The ordinary is where we learn to love each other.
The ordinary is where we hammer out what it means to be childlike but not childish.
The ordinary is where we come face to face with the same goofy-looking faces every day and grow in patience and longsuffering and the peace of saints and angels and dunderheads.
The ordinary is where we start to see something different in those faces, something that makes us tremble, something that makes us say an ever-larger “yes.”
Our adopters know as much. Far from dunderheads themselves, these holy humans have been given eyes to see beneath the snowy blanket of “ordinary.” How else to explain their embrace of the odd, the outrageous, the id-laden individuals who have flown our coop in the final days of Ordinary Time?
How else to explain the ordinary miracle of choosing Sparkly, or Amy, or Disco, or Flipflop, or Everything? And so they did, on ordinary days very much like today.
But, liturgically and otherwise, “ordinary” knows when and how to give way to things far stranger and holier than itself, ergo Advent.
Now is the time we’re allowed to have absurd, enormous expectations.
Now is the time we’re permitted to dream beyond our ability to express ourselves.
Now, dangling like tinsel between ordinary times we miss and love and know will return, we wait.
And, celebrating the small, ordinary victories that take us home and heal us enough to keep pressing on, we find our ways to dance. Preferably like this.