Tonight, I watched the team go through the dinner line, piling their plates high with beets and locrio. It’s just another Tuesday here, a market tour in the morning, and locrio for dinner. These days life here feels normal. Granted, we always have those crazy days where plans spin out of control unexpectedly, but for most days it just feels…normal.
It’s hard to write a blog about normal life. Cows crossing the road and the power going out isn’t as exciting as it used to be. We are thankful for our “ordinary” days. We are able to breathe a little easier and have more downtime between our tasks. But sometimes, we feel like our purpose is lost in the ordinary. Can you relate? Do you go through life’s routines wondering when your chance to do something amazing will come?
Over the past few months, God has been teaching us a lot about planting seeds of faith and the fruit we bear. For example, people recognize a mango tree here not necessarily by what the trunk looks like, but rather by the fruit hanging from its branches. The same goes for us. People know us by our fruit, by our actions and how we live our lives. That’s easy to forget when life feels ordinary and routine. Yet in the midst of an ordinary trip to the grocery store, we were reminded of this just the other day.
We were at the grocery store in the check-out line. Every day, we go through the same lane and see the same cashier. We have done this nearly every day for roughly the past year. The young lady who works this lane usually looks bored, and sometimes even annoyed, when we walk up (probably due to the large amount groceries in our cart). We try to talk to her, despite our broken Spanish, laugh with her, and brighten her day. Most days, we walk out assuming she probably is glad we are gone. A few days ago, as we passed through her lane, she began asking us why we had so many groceries. Two young men who help bag our groceries also jumped in the conversation to learn more about us. It was a fun conversation, mixed with Spanglish and passing phones back and forth to help translate. As we were wrapping up our conversation, one of the men got quiet, typing on his phone. Once he was done, he passed it to us to read. We will never forget the words we read in that moment: “Thank you for looking in our face because we know you see us.”
We finished our conversation, grabbed our groceries and headed out the door. I was already in tears by the time we got to the truck. How many people rush through that grocery line without really “seeing” the people who work there? After a year of standing in the same line every day, we never thought we would develop a relationship. We tried but felt like we failed. The only failure was we failed to see how people were watching us, watching our interactions. We didn’t realize that our small attempts at jokes, the smiles and waves were making a difference. To us, it felt like an ordinary day. To them, it changed their day.
Now, please hear me when I say we aren’t always the friendliest people in the store. There are days when they see us tired, frustrated, confused, and annoyed. There are days we probably haven’t been patient with our friends at the store. Those actions can speak loudly too. People are watching, and people will know you by your fruit. The problem with ordinary moments is the fact that we forget what an extraordinary impact they can have.
Like I said, we are enjoying our “ordinary” life here. It’s been a slow process, but we are also learning we don’t have to be great or do great things every day. God is great, and that is enough. It’s not about us, but about what He is doing. And He is doing great and marvelous things…even on our most ordinary days.