• Marnie Hammar

The Ministry of the Ordinary


I feel it slipping away. Like an unstoppable tide, I see reopening arriving, and I fear what it will take with it as it rolls back out. What a contrast to those early weeks, when I was limping around with my clipped wings. I’m surprised at what has unfolded—something that I never expected. ⁠

Those (not-that-long-ago) days of rushing and shuttling boys would end in dread, and sometimes anger, as we would walk in the door and face those musts we ignored. Dishes, grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, bills, all waiting. Our philosophy then was to fit those tasks into the cracks, in between all the “more important things that actually mattered.” On the list of my heart’s desires, the musts fell to the level of albatross. A penance. ⁠

But something happened in these long, quiet weeks. Inside these walls, we discovered a ministry to each other. Ronald Rohlheiser writes of “domestic monasticism,” a concept I’ve just learned. He says, “A monastery is a place set apart—a place to learn the blessings of powerlessness, and that time is not ours but God’s. Our home and our duties can, just like a monastery, teach us those things.” ⁠

Quarantine was like an exercise in monasticism, where I found myself face-to-face with duties that do, indeed, have much to teach. Somehow, in a way only He can do, God turned these musts into ministry. As a family, we elevated these duties as a collective offering, a shared endeavor that taught us blessing found in the simple ability to complete them. Absent of the pursuits normally competing for our attentions, we found beauty in the monotony. A mindfulness and reverence for the ordinary. Our clipped wings became changed hearts.⁠


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