Seeing the Beauty in the Ordinary

Seeing the Beauty in the Ordinary

by Sr. Sheila Campbell MMM                       Ireland                         21.04.2024

Last September I found myself in a large garden waiting for a visitor to the house. It was a warm, sunny day, always welcome at that time of year. I sat on a garden bench and had the time just to feel the heat of the sun, hear the breeze as it swayed the small branches of the nearby tree and to notice a bunch of daisies at my feet.

We don’t notice daisies much. We walk across the lawn and step on them. At best we ignore them and at worst we treat them as a pest that need to be destroyed. I remember once a visiting Sister from Nigeria was horrified that we were mowing the lawn and cutting down all the lovely flowers! I laughed at the time, but she was right. Each flower is perfect in its simplicity and grace. It lifts it face to the sun each morning, stretches out its petals, welcomes insects and simply says “Here I am!”

In my life there are many people that I treat like daisies. I am ashamed to say this but it is true. I must acknowledge it. I have nothing against them, particularly, but our lives don’t intersect much, or if they do, I don’t notice them much. Why? Mainly because I am caught up in my own plans and concerns. I don’t stop and give the time to see people as they really are. Flawed and imperfect human beings like myself, yes, but also each one is unique and each one shows his/her own beauty in the world. My ignoring of people is the root of so much prejudice and racism that flourishes in our society. If I don’t notice people, I can ignore them or tread upon them like I do the daisies.

So today I make a promise to myself. Respect the ordinary. See the ordinary for what it is – extraordinary in some way or in some other place and time. The ordinary fire fighter becomes a hero at times of crisis. Delivery drivers, cooks and cleaners become “essential workers” as we learnt during the pandemic. I don’t ever want to forget that “ordinary people” are very special people. After all, I too am a daisy in someone else’s life!