I am currently reading a book that has been on my shelf for a while – Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life, by Shauna Niequist. It is a collection of 40 short essays about happenings from her own day-to-day life. In each chapter she takes a simple life event, something that could have easily been overlooked or bypassed, and found something extraordinary in it. Some of the chapter titles include: Puppies; Swimming; Eggs and Baskets; Brothers, Sisters, and Barbecues; and Needle and Thread. At first glance, there seems to be nothing extraordinary there, yet, as she recounts the stories, in each one, she highlights the extraordinary found in the ordinary.
Where does the title Cold Tangerines come from? Hear her words: “I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”
What is she saying? In John 10:10, we hear Jesus’ words, “I have come so that they could have life – indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.” During this season of Ordinary Time during worship, we are looking to Jesus to learn ways that we, too, can live these extraordinary lives that have been promised to us. From moving through life without fear, to persistence in following the ways of Jesus, every day we can find the extraordinary, if we are attuned to God’s blessings.
How will you walk today? Looking at life through the drudgery of the everyday, or looking with anticipation for that “life to the fullest” that Jesus has promised us. May your eyes look up as you live your days.