Unwrap the Ordinary


“We live in a world of theophanies.
Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary.
There are burning bushes all around you.
Every tree is full of angels.
Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb.
Life wants to lead you from crumbs to angels,
but this can happen only if you are willing
to unwrap the ordinary by staying with it long enough
to harvest its treasure.”
~Macrina Wiederkehr from “A Tree Full of Angels”

I’m following the crumb trail most days;
my problem, like so many others I know,
is to realize the crumbs satisfy more than a seven course meal.
It may take longer to get full, but I need the exercise,
and the hungrier I get, the better the crumbs taste.

If I feast on crumbs,I will become wholly ordinary wrapped in holy.


4 thoughts on “Unwrap the Ordinary

  1. Overlooking the ordinary, the mundane, in our day-to-day journey deprives us of the potential for our spiritual growth. It is the ‘little’ things that help us to grow and to appreciate the significance of the ordinary. We keep waiting for something else —something perhaps more spectacular, not realizing that we have already missed the message. Part of this fault may be that we are constantly assaulted by sights and sounds that block our appreciation for the mysteries and meaning that occur in our lives.

    Emily, your contrast between the crumbs and the full-course meal is perfect. I think this may be the reason that the words that Jesus’ followers remember most are the ‘nitty-gritty,’ simple ones (crumbs dropped here and there?), the familiar references that they would remember and would be found later in the Gospels.

    Macrina Wiederkehr (OSB) has always been one of my favorites. I have had several of her books over the years. They are the books that I most often share with friends. She is a Benedictine sister and a Retreat Director at St. Scholastica Monastery’s retreat center in Fort Smith Arkansas.


  2. Dear Emily,
    This is a wonderful poem…. I have burning bushes in my yard. It is interesting that someone long ago gave them that name… I love the concept that God wrapped holiness in the ordinary clothing of humanity. That snowflakes are all unique but we can’t see it when the flakes are dropping. That an ordinary smile can encourage the face of a troubled soul. That taking care of ourselves shows respect for our maker and respect for what He made. That a little flower is a miracle. That no human has ever made a rose or ever could make one. We cannot make anything, even a seed – so ordinary, yet full of holy implications. That my children are a miracle, a blessing, a future, that God seeks a Godly heritage, and I got to be part of it. Wow!
    What a great God we serve.
    Thank you for the photo, poem, and points to ponder.


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