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Dam Ordinary

My brain wanders all the time. It thinks about the most random things. This past week my brain started thinking about beavers. Honestly, my thoughts ranged from the old Nickelodeon show “Two Angry Beavers” to whether I could live in a beaver dam, and then to whether or not beavers ONLY use their tails to slap the water to alert of danger or if sometimes they just slap it to make a nice rhythm. Do beavers like to boogie to the beat of some tail slaps? I don’t know!

This weird path that my brain traveled down led me to my favorite pastime of unending googling. I had to know more about beavers. Although I didn’t find any information telling me about their dancing habits or lack thereof, I learned a lot about their daily lives. Native Americans called them “little people”, which seems fairly accurate based on the beaver’s lifestyle. Beavers have lifelong monogamous partners, which then leads to little beaver families. Each of these families have their own little homes that we call lodges. As common as these little guys are, it’s rare to actually see them out and about for two reasons. First of all they’re nocturnal. So unless you’re out in the middle of the night like them, you’ll probably miss them. Second, their lodges have exits on the undersides, into the water, so as to not be seen by predators.

In your everyday life you’re unlikely to see these fascinating creatures, so let me tell you a little bit about their lives. If beavers WERE little people, they’d be workaholics. They’re always working on building up their lodges or patching it up, making sure the structure is good for their family. They also have to work very hard to maintain and build up the structures they’re most known for, dams. That’s right, these lodges aren’t dams. Dams are built near where they want their lodge so that the water level is high enough to cover these secret entrances, protecting them from predators.

They also build dams to raise water levels so that they can flood nearby areas in order to gain access to food and wood. Have you ever seen a beaver walking around on land? It’s not graceful, and they’re not fast, but in the water, they can easily escape any threat that comes their way.

To recap, beavers spend each and every day working hard, fixing up their home, taking care of their family, and getting food for everyone. This sounds pretty familiar. Every day I wake up, eat, Joseph gets up, I feed him. Then the day continues with taking care of the boy, doing housework, making food. I too work hard, fix up the home, care for my family, and feed us all. I do this every day. It’s not a glamorous life. I’m not winning any awards. I often feel like I’m not making a difference in the big wide world. Everything about my daily routine feels so ORDINARY.

Luckily for me, Christmas season is over. (What? Did she just say she’s happy that Christmas is over? Who would say that?) After the Christmas liturgical season is the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. This is the time where I am reminded over and over again that Jesus did the ordinary. The gospel from the first Ordinary Sunday in the liturgical calendar had Jesus attending a wedding. I attended a wedding this past weekend too. Jesus had a mother who asked Him to do things. He had friends who He helped out. For the ~30 years before this wedding he was trained as a carpenter and lived a very ordinary life.

Why then do I look down on my ordinary life? Jesus not only did the same, but He did it perfectly. He brought glory to the ordinary. I needed to be reminded of this. I needed to be reminded that when I perform my ordinary tasks each day, it is good that I do so. I am called to be a mom. I am called to be a wife. Currently I am called to work from home. This is where I’m meant to be, and this is what I’m meant to be doing. Doing those things is good. I can glorify God in each and every one of these ordinary actions if I choose to.
Thanks to this reminder, I WILL choose to do so. I will glorify God by happily picking up my son’s toys, again. I will glorify God by cooking dinner for my husband and me to eat. I will glorify God in the little things. I pray that God delights in me doing the little things, for I am doing them to answer his call. I don’t know what your ordinary day looks like. I do know that those ordinary actions you take every day can be made extraordinary when we do them for our God. This is the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. This is a great time to reflect on what our ordinary looks like. I encourage you to join me in celebrating the ordinary, for God celebrates you.

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