We so often miss the sacred because we're looking for the spectacular. The holy is most often found in the ordinary. This is something I am learning daily in my own life. It's often easier to feel connected to God when I am walking in the woods, or standing at the edge of the ocean, or looking out over a mountain range. But what about in the quotidian moments that fill my life far more than those?
In folding laundry?
The tasks that too often feel more like drudgery than liturgy?
Yet one of my favorite verses is in the Bible is when God tells the prophet Jeremiah to instruct the people of Israel, as they go into Babylonian captivity, "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce" (29:5). Why does He do this? Because he wants them to make a normal life even amidst exile, to plant gardens and eat from the fruits of their labors. God is a God who is so regularly found in the little minutiae of our day to day lives. Scripture is filled with such passages and, yet, so much of spiritual writing is more concerned with less mundane tasks than the sacredness of reading a story to your child before bed.
In her book Glory Happening: Finding the Divine in Everyday Places, Kaitilin B. Curtice writes in poetic, profound words how it is precisely in such mundane moments that the miraculous and the magnificence are found: whether it's watering plants, sharing a meal, or riding a stationary bike at the local YMCA that one most encounters the presence and love of God. It is the ordinary that is joyfully extraordinary.
Curtice writes small snapshot glimpse into her life and into the grace that can be found in family, community, and in finding one's own identity. Each chapter begins with a quote and ends with a prayer that reads like Psalms. She is a contemplative storyteller whose personal narratives gently lead the reader into meditating on one's own life, instead of merely telling a moral or spiritual lesson. Like any great writer, she shows, not tells the reader to Pay Attention. It's not just practicing the presence, it's being present.
Though a slender volume, you want want to rush through quickly but will love savoring, reflecting, and entering into the holiness that is found in the hours and days that comprise our lives.
The philosopher Simone Weil wrote, "To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul." Curtice clearly sees this spiritual need to be tethered and finds ways to be so in something as simple as the companionship of a dog.
If you're looking for a beautiful book that will nourish and nurture a desire to open your eyes to the awe and wonder of the Divine in the daily, then I highly recommend this book.
Kaitlin B. Curtice's official website: