Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 20, 2020
As the Thanksgiving season approaches and the year is looking to maintain the frenetic pace at which it’s been tugging us all behind it, I ask myself, what do I have to be thankful for? All year, it seemed as if every story I heard was just more bad news, like 2020 was in a contest with itself to just get worse.
Can all I be thankful for really be “at least it’s not worse”? I don’t think that’s quite fair. Over the course of this year, I’ve learned that the things I can be thankful for are right in front of my face. Somehow, that manages to be the first place we become blind to, and yet there is so much there.
A great friend of mine once told me, upon coming back from a trip to Rome, that “without habit, the beauty of the world would overwhelm us.” These habitual things, which we ignore by way of constant exposure which bores us to them, occasionally spring forth in our consciousness with striking clarity. Then, it is difficult to remember why we ignored them in the first place.
When I take the time to notice, to pause and see what is in front of me, I remember how wonderfully complex and carefully created the world is, down to the most insignificant blade of grass. The bruised purple sky that spreads over me as I drive home from practice; a shared glance of camaraderie two strangers as they ready their umbrellas to meet pouring rain; the bee that bumped inoffensively into me before we both buzzed off on our separate ways: these are the mundane miracles. The world does not stop for them, nor do they exist with much fanfare. But I think the fact that they exist at all is evidence of an overwhelming, tender care poured into every part of this world we live in.
When we are little, we are inclined to call it magic. As children, we had fairies that changed the leaves in autumn, each one carefully hand-painted to be unique. Though the fairies weren’t real, I don’t think we were right to let go of the idea that someone has created these tiny, insignificant things simply for us to appreciate them in their deceptively simple beauty.
This autumn, I’d like to remind myself that God exists in the smallest of things, too.