Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ordinary for me is extraordinary for the destitute

I spent a week at Cormaria to enjoy our sisters who were working there, to take some new photographs for the Cormaria website, to help out if needed and to enjoy the beauty of the scenery.

This photo is only one of the beautiful views outside Cormaria, and I found myself thankful to God for this experience of being surrounded by beauty.  There were flowers, wild free-growing flowers in many places around the property, and views of Sag Harbor that were exquisite from sunrise to sunset, as well as on cloudy days and sunny days.  I loved the flowers so much that I did a youtube video.

As I was resetting one of the tables in the dining room at Cormaria, I looked at some simple things as a salt and pepper shaker and a sugar dispenser, and I realized how ordinary these things are for me in my everyday life.  And I thought of some of the destitute in sub-Saharan Africa, or people who are living in the tent cities in Haiti as a result of the earthquake.  The following are "ordinaries" for me, for example...


As I thought about these things, and other things I personally consider a normal, even essential part of my life, I could not imagine what it would be like to live without them - sleeping in a tent on the ground, unable to use electricity, being without shelter.

I am always incredibly grateful for the beauty that I have experienced and the beauty that surrounds me.  It is not so often that I remember gratitude for the ordinary.  So, I take this moment to thank God for these extraordinary things for the destitute which are ordinary for me - towels, a bed, an iron, a toilet, clean dishes and cooking and eating utensils, a wonderful bed and shelter.  And I realize, looking at news reports and documentaries, and hearing the experiences of some missionaries, how far the poor are from the UN millenium goals.  And then I reflect on the other experiences of some of our sisters who work with the poor - they are so often willing to offer a seat on their chairless floor, to greet them with a smile and to share the little they have.

I have so much to be grateful for, and so much to learn from the poor.