The Extraordinary in the Ordinary

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“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”      ~ C.S. Lewis

 I love this quote, but I think it is a love I gained in retrospect rather than in the moment of hardship.  There have been many in my life, and some prolonged.  But when I look back, I see all the extraordinary moments that were being built, though I didn’t see it at the time.  Despite how many times I have seen miracles happen, I still often fail to remember those possibilities when I am in the thick of pain or struggle.  Just when I think I am “going down for the count,” something happens to redeem the struggle. It doesn’t take it away completely, of course: What is done is done, or what is lost is lost.  But there is often some kind of hidden purpose–a grit, a grace, a gift that comes in spite of it, and maybe even because of it. But it does come . . . eventually.

Gandhi_thinking_mood_1931Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”  ~ Mahatma Ghandi

I also love the above quote.  And since we all know what Ghandi ultimately experienced, his words above we know to be true.  It was not wishful thinking, nor did he put blinders on to the dark side of life. He was speaking about something far more substantial than that – yet so practical and so . . . possible  . . . even for ordinary people like me or you, or most of us.  He knew the dark side of life fully, and fought it with enormous courage — and with nothing more than his willingness to try.  From these humble and ordinary beginnings, he did extraordinary things.

I don’t have to rise to the magnitude of what Ghandi did to experience his truth in my life – none of us do; that is what makes this all so extraordinary.  I matter — and everything I have struggled with in my life matters.  It all matters because we matter.  Each moment we experience has meaning and purpose.  It just takes time to find it sometimes.  Hardships often hold the substance of destiny. We are the alchemist of those possibilities, with grace and love to light the way.