The Epic of the Everyday

One of my favorite stories from my teaching career was from when I taught at South Middle School before I moved to Russia.  My class was lining up to return from a trip to the library when a boy said he didn't know what to read.  I looked over and saw Watership Down on the shelf.  I reached over and handed it to him.

"What's this about, Miss Medlock?" (This was a long time ago.)

"It's about crazy, psycho bunny rabbits."  He laughed and went to check it out.

The next day he ran into my classroom holding the book in his hands and exclaimed, "This book is about crazy, psycho bunny rabbits!"

I can't remember if I finished Watership Down my first go around.  It wasn't what I expected.  Unless someone tells you what it is about, it rarely is.  Perhaps it is the juxtaposition of an epic fantasy with the mundanity of rabbits in a field that makes it so surprising, but also so compelling and so moving to so many people.  It is the epic of the everyday.  It reminds us that bravery exists in ordinary places and in seemingly quiet people and places.

The epic of the everyday is when you wrestle with an "invisible illness" and you must almost bully yourself to get out of bed, and yet you are obedient to God in calling a friend to spend time with them.  The epic of the everyday is when you are in the throes of depression and yet you continue to chose to trust the Lord.  The epic of the everyday is when you have been hurt by past relationships yet you continue to make yourself vulnerable and love.

The epic of the everyday takes extraordinary courage, but from the outside it appears quiet and mundane.  Rabbits in a field.  Obedience in suffering.  From the outside there is little see.  But when you are living it, it is a great adventure because of the courage it takes to live the story.

In the Bible it is the difference between the book of Esther and the book of Ruth.  Esther is a book of apparent dangers and struggles.  One lone woman can safe her people from annihilation.  But the book of Ruth is quiet and ordinary.  A woman finds the courage to love her mother-in-law and survive despite all odds.  And that courage is part of the lineage of Christ.  Surely Ruth picking grain looked as homily as a rabbit in a field.  But there was more to her story.

Remembering that there is epic in the everyday is also important to remember when we look at others.  What journey are they living in?  What courage did it take to do that simple, ordinary thing?  When we look about the exterior, we may find great stories of bravery in each other.