The prompt from the 24th March has been filling my thoughts for the last few days with questions like “What exactly does ‘ordinary’ look like?” “How does being classed as ‘ordinary’ make someone feel?” “Is it ok to be just ‘ordinary’?” The word ordinary, and the questions relating to it won’t go away and I’ve come to understand why; actually I think as soon as I saw the word I knew why but it’s taken three days to acknowledge it.
One of the organisations I volunteer with offers a house2home service which, as it sounds, helps people turn their house (or flat) into a home by providing items they need, but for a wide variety of reasons, can’t afford themselves. Each referral or request starts with a quick-as-possible home visit to determine their exact needs. I’ve heard many of the stories but recently experienced the dire need of people in our town personally, as one of the team carrying out these visits.
The people we help are not bums. Or down-and-outs. Or uneducated. Or lazy.
They are, for want of a better term, ‘ordinary’ people who have found themselves in a place of need through circumstances. Circumstances that could at any time, happen to any one of us. There’s a saying ‘but for the Grace of God go I’ – and it is a true saying.
I recognise that ‘but for the Grace of God go I’.
I do not consider myself wealthy in any way, shape or form. I do not have a large house, (in fact I don’t even live in a house) but what I do have I can call mine. I have a roof over my head. Under that roof I have comfortable furniture, carpeted floors, food in the fridge and cupboards, a range of clothes in the wardrobe. I can have a hot shower any time I like or turn on the TV, radio or CD/DVD players. The kids get what they need and, whenever we can, they get what they want including being able to send them on some great school trips, days or meals out as a family and so on. So, whilst not wealthy by some standards, we’re way up there by others. We do not have to worry about the next utility bill coming in, or filling the car up with fuel or… or… or the list goes on. What I consider to be my very ordinary life is to others a very comfortable one. And, on reflection it is.
So what is ordinary?
Some of the people we meet have lost everything and have really hit rock bottom. They feel a lot less than ordinary. Some feel that they, and their lives are completely meaningless. Insignificant. And even though that’s NOT TRUE, when that’s how you feel, it can be very difficult to help people see further than their uncomfortable, hopeless present.
I know this. I’ve been there.
Apart from being able to provide household items to those in need, the house2home project, which is just one of the services the Helping Hands Charity provides, one of the most important things we can give to those seeking help is HOPE. The charity is run by ordinary people who’s passion is to see the hungry fed, the naked clothed, the homeless housed, the addicts clean and the transformation of peoples lives from desperate to what people like me consider ‘ordinary’, ‘normal’. And we’re getting there, one heartbreaking broken life at a time.
Enjoy the gift of an ‘ordinary life’, something I all too often take for granted. But it’s a blessing and something to be continually thankful for.