Recently I took the test to work out once and for all just which house I’d be in if I was in Harry Potter, would I have the daring and bravery for Griffindor? Would I have the intellect for Ravenclaw? The cunning for Sytherin. Well no, I was well and truly in Hufflepuff. The name of which says it all. Hufflepuff, not known for being very outstanding in much but loyalty, patience and ordinary living. There was a time when that would have irked me more than it did. I still felt the twinge of being labelled as not very outstanding but I think I’m more at ease with being ordinary now.
There is an article doing the rounds as to the problem with my generation. You can read the whole thing here, the summery point seems to be we expect too much from life. We expect that we can have the fulfilling career, that we are all special and outstanding and can achieve greatness in a relatively short period of time. The maths doesn’t add up, we clearly can’t all be outstanding because, well think about it, we’d all be the same and there would have to be another level for the really outstanding. We’re conditioned by the air we breathe in this world to crave fame, fortune and the accolade of lots of people knowing who we are. I clearly remember thinking about 15 years ago that I could change the world, that my life could be extraordinary and that we should aim for such things. Ordinary living just wasn’t an option.
To be honest I liked my brief flirting with fame albeit on the smallest scale possible. For a while there I was known in a small corner of the Christian world (I stress the small), I stood on a stage and talked of the One who made me and I liked it when people knew my name, when people recognised my face. The beast inside which craves attention grew and grew and I felt good. Of course I was doing it to glorify the One who made me but I loved basking in the sun myself for a bit. Something had to be done and, since stepping away from that life, I’ve been on this crazy journey of figuring out how to live the ordinary unseen life. (well clearly I haven’t done that very well, this blog still exists for a start…)
Anyway, glaring inconsistencies aside, I hope I’m wiser now, I’m certainly older and I’m slowly coming around to the idea that maybe being a Hufflepuff isn’t such a bad thing after all. It is after all in the ordinary everyday life that our Maker steps into and transforms, not maybe into an all singing all dancing life but he injects meaning into the encounters we have with others in our day, he gives us the opportunity each day to live a life of love, he helps us as we live in the mundane, he brings the reality of his presence to bear on the situations we find ourselves in and most of all, he sees. He sees the sacrifices we make, the joys and sorrows, he sees the unseen.
1 Thessalonians tells us to make it our ambition to lead a quiet life. I’ve not heard that preached from many pulpits or seen that kind of life made attractive by those who have the loudest voice in our world. We want the adulation, the applause, to be living out our passion. The reality is we might not get to do that, we might not get to have the most fulfilling glorious life, but we do get to have a life lived with the works God has planned out for us each day. That might just be a better life to aim for. We do get to live with the knowledge that we have worth and value whatever outwardly we spend our time doing each day. We do get to know that we are deeply special to our Maker and that we have a better audience for our coming and going than each other. One who is not fickle, who doesn’t favour others over us, who doesn’t forget about us and who has good works for us to be getting on with.
What do you think? I think there is still place for ambition in this life, for looking to do the things we are gifted in. To be honest, deep down is still the desire to change the world. Maybe though I need to ask God to get on with that job and proffer up my small loaves and fishes along the way? Maybe I’m just trying to find a way to make the ordinary extraordinary?
Your Correspondent, once more finding herself with more questions than answers…