It’s Saturday morning, which means book study with my dad and step mom (who currently live most of the year in Italy). Saturday mornings were not always book study days. They used to just be Saturday mornings— coffee, pajamas, and reflecting on what I wanted to do the rest of the day.
This new book study tradition actually began last year when my mom asked if I’d like to read the Bible and do a Bible study with her, which I oddly enough agreed to. My initial thought was, “I don’t really want to commit to a schedule of reading the Bible. If I’m gonna read the Bible, I’d kind of like to do it on my own time.” Pretty sure that’s my Ego’s code for, “Please give me an exit plan.”
There was something deeper within me, though, that spoke up and said, “Yes.” Against all logic, I committed to a weekly Bible study. From there, my dad expressed the desire to also do some kind of weekly book study with me. At first, we began with a book about Jesus (to keep with the Bible theme, but something a little less “scholarly”, coming from a retired minister). Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, evolved into adding in my step mom to read Home with God. Once I was called to commit to my Christian journey, though, we put Home with God on hold and chose a new book.
I ended up choosing The Remarkable Ordinary by Fredrick Buechner. Buechner has actually been a mentor of my dad’s and although I have my childish moments of, “Let me do this on my own, with my own path,” this book spoke to me. I don’t mean childish as in immature. I mean childish as in— I’m the youngest of three children, the “baby”, and the only girl. I’ve spent much of my life in the shadow of others and to go down the Christian path, exploring Jesus for myself, with my retired minister father watching the whole way can feel a little daunting at times.
It’s not just my dad. I know I’m not the first person to ever be new to Christianity, but there’s something sacred about exploring a path like Christianity for the first time. There’s history, depth, beauty, pain, and much judgment that surrounds the Bible, Christianity, and especially the church. There’s a lot to unpack around who Jesus was. Everyone has their own thoughts, feelings, beliefs, experiences, and projections.
It’s becoming an interesting experience to listen to what others have to say about their experience, while not allowing it to taint my personal experience and the magic waiting to be discovered.
This morning while discussing The Remarkable Ordinary, a discussion arose around the beauty and magic in every “ordinary” moment. I discussed with my parents about the pairing of pictures with my words, whether it’s through social media posts or blogs. Oftentimes when I’m out and about, something will catch my eye that creates a spiritual experience within me, but if I can’t quite capture the right photo, the experience is never written. It gets tucked away with all the other thoughts, moments, and experiences others don’t know about me.
I started to wonder, “What if I simply took snapshots of my life and instead of focusing on the perfection of the picture, allowed the ordinary to simply be and instead express what’s actually flowing through me in that moment? What if I truly allowed others to see through the lens in which I see the world?”
As I sat here, post call, I simply stared at my table and realized that everything on my table has a story. It’s an ordinary picture with a story to be told.
The cushion on the floor is a dog bed because I’m not ready to commit to buying a couch yet after traveling full time for three years. The table I sit at is an old, beaten up and scratched table that was still in my apartment from the previous owner when I moved in. I had every intention of getting rid of it and then decided to keep it for now until I knew what the end of this 6-month lease would bring.
The table is full of books and journals, which are the cornerstones of my current life. My Bible, Bible study guide, and devotional (with a friend’s book off to the side that I’m reading for enjoyment next to the little bluetooth speaker I use in my ‘95 Honda Accord station wagon). I have two journals— one in which I pray to Jesus every morning and every night and another I use to journal out answers to questions posed in my devotional. Two sets of headphones— the iPhone headphones have a greater volume range but my bluetooth headphones are useful when I need to plug in my phone and still want music in my ears (or when I don’t have a pocket to shove my phone into while walking around the apartment). My tripod is still set up from this morning’s FaceTime, and finally, my planner still opened to make sure my podcast stayed on schedule over this past week.
One thing I learned from spending three years traveling around is that everything in my life has a purpose. I’ve lived without excess for years and although I’m at a point in my life where I’m ready to build once again, I look around and see that everything still has a purpose and a function.
So this is it. This is the beginning of a new project. I don’t yet have a name for it and I have no clue what it will evolve into, but what I know is it’s begging to come forward. We’ll see what happens, but I’m excited to see the beauty that shines through daily snapshots.