Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I painted this while I was in college studying to be a teacher, dreaming about being a mother. It hung in Norah's room for years and will hang in our new nursery for Avril.


Lord, let mine be
a common place
while here.
His was a common one;
He seems so near
when I am working
at some ordinary task.
Lord, let mine be
a common one, I ask.
Give me the things to do
that others shun,
I am not so gifted and so poised,
Lord, as some.
I am best fitted
for the common things,
and I am happy so.
It always brings
a sense of fellowship
with Him who learned
to do lowly things
that others spurned:
to wear the simple clothes,
the common dress,
to gather in his arms
and gently bless
(and He was busy, too)
a little child,
to lay his hand upon
the one defiled,
to walk with sinners
down some narrow street,
to kneel Himself
and wash men's dusty feet.
To ride a common foal,
to work with wood,
to dwell with common folk,
eat common food;
and then upon the city dump
to die for me

Lord, common things
are all I ask
of Thee.

- Ruth Bell Graham

This is one of my favorite poems by Ruth Bell Graham, the late wife of the world famous Christian evangelist Billy Graham. She and Billy were separated for months at a time through the bulk of their marriage. One of their daughters commented that she doesn't think her mother could have handled the separations from her husband and their father so well, unless she knew that people were being brought to eternal salvation through Christ. Because her husband's career in ministry was so extensive, so successful, for so long, Ruth had to raise their five children alone, basically.

I've often wondered if Ruth struggled with feeling inferior, being married to a man who was so famous, so successful, by the world's standards. I think any person would, even if only in passing. She was home doing dishes and changing diapers in relative solitude, while her husband was welcomed and celebrated by world leaders and millions of people at his crusades here in the US and abroad. If she did struggle with envy or doubts about the value of the work she was doing, she defeated them and found comfort and fellowship knowing that God is close to us and doesn't overlook anything we do, no matter how common it seems.

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