All Born Ordinary
I remember the pain of living on a pedestal. I had been an ordained minister for five years. During that time my parishioners did to me what they had done to all their previous ministers. They put me on a pedestal. Like Christ, I was appointed to be the one perfect individual so that my parishioners might be imperfect. They could then sin in every way without guilt–or so they believed. I got tired of being separated from them and began thinking of the best way to escape my sentence to be special.
The best and easiest, as it turned out, was to leave the pedestal and become an ordinary person. I longed for that day. When that day came, I was thrilled. I set my bottle of bourbon on the kitchen counter for all to see. No longer burdened by the need to be secretive and ashamed, I felt free. Then I became a counselor. What could be more ordinary than that–helping others be happy in their ordinary lives.
Existentialism is the philosophical term meaning that we are all born ordinary. Then begins the clamor to become extraordinary. Really, who wants to be ordinary? How dull. Jimmy Stewart was perhaps the most popular American actor who ever lived. To study his life in acting is to see an extraordinary rise to fame and fortune. We can look around at all famous people and wonder how they became so extraordinarily great.
Edison was famous for creating the light bulb that now lights up every city on earth. What was his secret? 10,000 failed experiments and a determination that would not quit. The determination was part of his ordinary personality. Michael Phelps won 24 gold medals at the Olympics for swimming. His claim to fame. He liked swimming. Pretty ordinary, wouldn’t you say? Pavarotti was a great tenor because he liked to sing and was willing to work at his talent to make it perform better. Don’t golfers do the same? Jack Nicklaus is a great golfer. Why? He wanted to play golf better than others, all of whom liked playing golf. He was an ordinary man who had a natural gift for golf and worked hard to develop that talent.
Can you name any famous person who went out of his or her way to do something in which he or she had no interest or talent? When you think about it, really think, isn’t extraordinary really ordinary with practice and luck? Look at your own life. Aren’t you just ordinary? Or perhaps you have wasted a lifetime trying to be something you are not. What are the ordinary things about you that are great in the eyes of others. Maybe you should re-define ordinary for you. And I can tell you as a counselor and marriage counselor, it is very hard to just be ordinary. We have to work at it, but oh the blessing we can be for others by accepting our plight of being ordinary.