“Which window will it be today?” Many parents of small children will quickly recognise those words which precede the moment in Play School when we “look through the window” to discover something new and exciting. I have spent much of today sitting by a windowsill with very limited ability to see. Our outside office sits at the back of our garden, with a window looking out over the fruit trees. In winter the leafless trees let in rafts of light which by afternoon mean that I am facing directly into the glare. And I am working in our outside office again, in this first week of the southern winter, because my city is once again in hard lockdown, for the time being at least. As Ordinary Time begins, it feels a curious way to be living this ordinary season, back in a situation that is far from ordinary yet which places us so immovably amongst the very ordinary things of our own homes and backyards. The familiar and the unfamiliar are in curious lockstep. We are forced to look more at our immediate surroundings and have fewer means of escape from the ordinary.
What is the spiritual fruit of this? Well, it will be different for each person, and different especially if you are not currently in lockdown and can perhaps relegate that to your recent past. But one thing I am working towards with God is to not avoid the ordinary but to look into it, to make it a window through which I can see God at work. That’s where I will see Him. He does extraordinary things, for sure, but most of the time He works in the slow, the frustrating, the “I-thought-we’d-finished-this-already” of ordinary life. So that’s where I want to look – not past the ordinary, as though His answers are magical, but in the ordinary, because His answers are trustworthy, sturdy and real.