The Mundane Path

Recently I was re-introduced to the story of Naaman - a man in the Bible who was seeking healing for his leprosy. Naaman goes to see Elisha, the prophet of the day, who tells him to wash seven times in the Jordan to be healed. Naaman responds with anger, saying "Behold, I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.’" He also proceeds to complain about the chosen body of water. Naaman's servants plead with him saying “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”

While is passage is specifically about healing, I garnered two observations that were applicable to any process of change or growth.

Often times, the process is not what we expect it will be.  We may have an exact image in our minds of what a certain path in our lives is meant to look like, only to find that we prepared ourselves for the wrong thing. And like Naaman, we can get mad and resist this different process. Or, like Naaman's servants, we can choose to accept this unexpected path. I mean, if the end result is going to be the same - if I am going to be healed or changed or matured using the unexpected path, what's the use in getting angry that it's not happening the way I thought it would?

We often desire a path that is more spectacular than the reality.  Naaman wanted the prophet to wave his hand and make magic happen. But the actual path was less exciting. It involved doing something very mundane, and it would not be instantaneous. Now, I know well that there are spectacular stories happening all over the world! These are the stories that get into papers, shared virally, talked about. But I would guess that for every spectacular story, there are at least one million mundane, everyday life events - again, this is just a guess. Unfortunately, the spectacles get our imaginations flowing and whet our appetite, so we desire life to always be spectacular. But it isn't. Life, growth, healing, change - these things are often achieved through repetitive, day-to-day tasks.

Still, while life isn't always spectacular, I do believe life can always be awe-inspiring - just not in the whiz-bang-pow! way we want it to be. As a storyteller, I often try to convey those spectacular life moments in my work. However, the act of crafting those stories exists in the realm of the repetitive and mundane. Sure, I could wait for that hand of God, that muse, that spark of inspiration to flood my soul and almost coerce me to write. But what are the chances of that? And if the end result could still be that I tell a great story, why get angry that the instant spark doesn't occur? Usually, it's me in front of my laptop or my keyboard, with the laundry in the wash, and the realization that I still have yet to shower that day. Thankfully, I'm not required to bathe seven times like Naaman.

Posted on October 15, 2013 and filed under Creative.