When I actually pull my eyes away from one of a few illuminated screens that many hours of my day are spent staring at, I sometimes find myself staring through yet another glass pane, continuing a thought. It may take a moment or even a minute for me to notice what my eyes are fixed on. Blink. Blink. Breath. Blink. Then I see it, the glowing horizon. An endless expanse, where heaven meets earth and all the colors of the setting sun, that have forever driven my heart into motion, collide. The holy beauty of nature can pull me away from the loudest thoughts and cause a feeling so deep, I often shiver. Yet daily, the dramatic invitation to pause and notice, this beauty, grace, this promise, often goes unnoticed. Noticing a sunset is a simple, natural pleasure many of us forget to see. Often the experience of watching the sunset can become extraordinary, because it’s done so infrequently.
When I think of uncommon good, I am reminded of the thousands of lost sunsets I didn’t pause to take in. Uncommon good is a natural and human love transaction wherein one who has, gives; or does, for one who does not have. Not out of his excess, but out of himself. He does it for the one who needs. Not anyone else. He gives his time, his energy, his money, himself, for the good of someone else. To meet their needs, or build a bridge, or help them find their way.
Many of us feel like we give, some of us feel like we’ve given a whole lot in life, but many of us have unconsciously been giving for our own good. This is common. This good, has been done before. It only takes a few hours on a Saturday once a month. This kind of good is not often life changing or sustaining; it is rarely lasting. There’s a sense of satisfaction knowing we did something good for someone, often it was good for them and good for me.
What is uncommon, is when someone sacrifices their self, for the good of someone else. Sacrifice is a concept often reserved for earthly saints, history’s martyrs or Jesus. Yet, sacrifice is a hallmark of uncommon good. A great need becomes a calling. When a person steps up to stand in the gap for another, it is often with reckless abandon. It is done at great cost to their own comfort and ego. Which quickly fades in the light of the hope they radically, faithfully work for.
Life changing love in action is often done under the radar, without much fanfare, on shoe-string budgets and with very little community awareness. The person who is giving, the fledgling organization that was created in the process, is so all in they almost seem disconnected from the whims and demands of modern life. Yet they are so finely tuned into the heartbeat of the community they are serving, that their entire life: their thoughts, conversation, ideas, dreams and struggles, revolve around it. They are consumed. This is extraordinaire to witness up close.
The truth is, uncommon good is happening all over the world: on street corners, in missions, in homes, community centers, places we don’t know exist because they are off the beaten path. If only we would notice. The holy beauty of those who live out their faith in this sacrificial, uncommon way is miraculous. Like the horizon at dusk. The colors of their lives are deeper, richer and more vibrant than those we’ve been accustom to. The joy they experience is pure and unadulterated. The pain they’ve seen and endured is where true beauty is born.
It is so necessary for us to pull our eyes away from the screen of cultures stage and witness the most natural, beautiful and disarming act one can do for another, to lay ones life down for a friend. It is an unnerving and humbling experience to see someone do it again and again. It’s one of the few ways our hearts of stone can break and begin to feel like flesh; maybe in time, to beat again.