Alfred Hitchcock said movies are “life with the dull bits cut out.” Car chases and first kisses, interesting plot lines and good conversations. We don’t want to watch our lead character going on a walk, stuck in traffic, or brushing his teeth—at least not for long, and not without a good soundtrack.
We tend to want a Christian life with the dull bits cut out.
Yet God made us to spend our days in rest, work, and play, taking care of our bodies, our families, our neighborhoods, our homes. What if all these boring parts matter to God? What if days passed in ways that feel small and insignificant to us are weighty with meaning and part of the abundant life that God has for us?
Christ’s ordinary years are part of our redemption story. Because of the incarnation and those long, unrecorded years of Jesus’ life, our small, normal lives matter. If Christ was a carpenter, all of us who are in Christ find that our work is sanctified and made holy. If Christ spent time in obscurity, then there is infinite worth found in obscurity. If Christ spent most of his life in quotidian ways, then all of life is brought under his lordship. There is no task too small or too routine to reflect God’s glory and worth.
I have a friend who was a missionary in Calcutta among the poorest of the poor. He told me that what struck him was how mundane life was even in such a foreign and challenging place. His decision to go overseas felt daring and bold, but he was surprised to find that wherever he was on earth, much of his day was spent sitting with people, taking care of business and chores, taking care of his own body, knowing his neighbors, seeking to love people—sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing.
Whether you’re Mother Teresa or a stay-at-home mom, whether you’re a revolutionary, a student, or a tax attorney, life is lived in twenty-four-hour days. We have bodies; we lag in energy; we learn slowly; we wake daily and don’t know what lies ahead.
So here is an invitation to look at faith in small moments, spiritual formation in its molecular form—not because this is all that matters, but because the only life any of us live is in daily, pedestrian humanity.