Be extraordinary instead….

August 12, 2019

In a quote that I saved from the Jack’s Winning Words bog, Lou Holtz said – “I can’t believe that God put us on this earth to be ordinary.”

 Lou Holtz may have initially used that thought as motivation for his athletes at Notre Dame, but ILou_Holtz suspect that he had a broader application in mind for mankind in general. Lou is a devout Catholic and often speaks in motivational talks about the higher calling of man to serve others and God.

It is all too easy to be ordinary, to let yourself slip into that mode where the needs and problems that you see around you are someone else’s concern, not yours. It is less hassle to pass on the other side of the road from the injured man who helperwas beaten and robbed, rather than be the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37). After all, you have issues of your own to deal with, so you do not have time to stop and help.

Yet, somewhere is the back of your mind there is that little voice telling you, “you should stop and help”. Some might label that as your conscious. Lou Holtz might tell you that it is the quiet voice of God, trying to move you to not be ordinary – to do what He put you here to do.

There used to be an Army recruiting commercial on TV that used the tag line – “Be all that you can be.” Maybe that is what the little voice is telling you – don’t be ordinary, be extraordinary instead. Be all that you can be by stopping to help.

We see almost weekly stories on the nightly news about someone rushing to help in an emergency – maybe running into a burning building to rescue someone trapped inside homeless manor pulling someone from a car wreck moments before the car explodes into flames. Those “heroes” were not being ordinary. They did not decide to pass by on the other side of the road. They listened to the voice of God and helped. Did you drive by the same scene and keep on going, even though you thought, “Oh, those poor people, I hope that they are alright”? How ordinary of you.

One does not have to go looking for emergencies or crisis to find ways to help; to be extraordinary. Every community across this nation has volunteer organizations that are helping with poverty, homelessness, mental health, drug and alcohol addiction or other pressing issues. Extraordinary people who refused to pass by those issues on the other side of the road make up those organizations. You can join them and be extraordinary, too.

helping-2You don’t have to have great wealth to help. You don’t have to have great power to help. You just have to have compassion and resolve that you will make a difference by stopping and helping, instead of passing  by on the other side of the road.  Don’t let yourself be ordinary. That’s not what God put you here for.

Be extraordinary today!

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Find happiness in the ordinary…

June 11, 2014

“Never get so fascinated with the extraordinary that you miss the ordinary.” (Magdalen Nabb) –  from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

How true that saying is. We have become a nation that tends to focus on events, either real or made up for television(and in a true perversion of the word called “realty” shows) and in the process we have become somewhat blasé about the ordinary things going on around us. In some big cities, such as New York or LA or Boston, residents have gone further and seemingly can ignore all but the most extraordinary things around them. Yet there is much to be observed and learned from the ordinary. I found the quote below that seems to sum up my thoughts quite nicely, especially as it concerns children.

“Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.” ― William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents

child fishin gin puddleInstead of looking for extraordinary things to do with your children every weekend, perhaps just sharing the ordinary with them is the best things to do. Go fishing or go watch a ball game. Sit and talk with them under a tree or take a walk through a local park and share the experience of nature with them.  There is more value in time spent together in pursuit of the ordinary than in all of the thrill rides and concerts around.

If it’s just you and your significant other share some time sitting on the porch (maybe in an old fashion swing) or just take a drive together with no particular destination in mind. It is during the time shared in these “ordinary” pursuits that real conversation can occur, not while you are at some special event. It is in those ordinary moments that hands reach out and the simple act of holding hands rekindles the original reasons that you are together.

I think that we don’t spend enough time considering all that is going on around us in our ordinary lives. If we did really look at the lessons to be learned or the opportunities to serve that are all around us, I suspect that we would agree with this quote from Mitch Albom –

 “You can find something truly important in an ordinary minute.” ― Mitch Albom, For One More Day

So, look around you at all of the ordinary things going on with an eye to seeing the meaning and importance of those things. You may be surprised that you see things that you’ve never seen before that have always been right in front of you. There is beauty to behold. There are needs to fulfill. There are opportunities to be explored. There are truly important things happening in your ordinary little life; don’t miss them. And don’t worry; the extraordinary will take care of itself without you.