Michael Small Lifts Up The "Common"

Apr 27, 2020

Michael Small is a minister at Community Church of Walker-United Church of Christ, he joins Heidi Holtan as a guest on the Monday Morning Show.  During the pandemic of COVID-19 Michael has been writing a daily "Small Talk" email newsletter.  Recently, he looked at the common...

Small Talk – April 25 2020

Day 28 of Shelter-in-Place

By Michael Small


I am pondering the word “common” this morning. When uttered in northern Minnesota, at this time of year, images of the state’s bird come to mind, the Common Loon. The song of the loon is heard, and there is delight! The soaring melody of a Fanfare for the Common Man [and Woman] by American composer Aaron Copland comes to mind. Today, I will take time to surround myself with this moving symphony. “Common”, when listening to pundits and politicians, I yearn for, pray for some “common sense”. Just the plain and truth telling news.

I think about, without degrading, all the common people who enable me to live in this shelter-in-place time. I think about the common people who are the heroes of this time, doctors, nurses, common people who work at our hospitals, restaurants, grocery stores, convenient stores, boat deliveries, bait sellers. I think about the common people who tirelessly work in our governments from village to the nations of the world. I think about the common people who are streaming their music, poetry, words, laughter, entertainment, and worship. I think about the common people who are teaching our children and grandchildren, students from a distance and bus drivers and school staff who are providing meals for children and families. I think about the common people who are maintaining roads and infrastructure. I think of the common people who patrol our roads, respond without hesitation to our 911 calls, and are there to comfort us and keep us safe. I think about the common people who are making phone calls, writing letters, dropping off bags of food on porches. I think about common scientists, researchers, engineers who are working day and night to develop vaccines for Covid-19. I think about all of you, who are the common people, with lots of  common sense, common likes and dislikes, common feelings, normal people who all, in reality, are extraordinary, exceptional, wondrous, miraculous and gifts to all of humanity. Yes, this is you and I am so thankful for all of you. All of you make a difference by just being common. That’s all it takes.

No one wakes up in the morning and says to self, “Self . . . today I am going to be a hero. Today I am going to be the solution to the world’s problems. Today I will fix everything.” Most of us wake up with the hopes and intentions that “I will be engaged with this day and those I encounter, as best and as honest as I am able.” We wake up knowing that some days will be better than others. We also know that there will be days when we are less able, tired, worn out, out of sorts, crabby, and not very productive. But even on those days we will do our best.

My desire for this day is to be common, ordinary, calm, satisfied, at peace inside and outside, congruent, connected, reasonable – seeking to be who I am, seeking to be who you are. While googling on the internet these words “Ode to the Common Man” I was delighted to find the poem below. Thanks to Lee Goldberg who wrote to me saying, “You have my permission. I am amazed that anyone read them.” You inspire me.

A poem in praise of the unheralded.

Some of us will leave our mark

When we illuminate the dark

And make the world a richer, better place.

Some of us will lessen pain

Or make people be born again

And thus impact upon the human race.

Some of us will cure disease

Or put our fellow men at ease

By furthering the cause of world peace.

Some of us will create art

That touches both the soul and heart

And helps the rage of darkened minds to cease.

Some of us will reach great heights

Avenge the wrongs and fight the good fights

And our effect will be both joy and calming.

But most of us will live each day

And one day simply fade away

And at best become the objects of embalming.

Copyright © Lee Goldberg 2011, 2012, 2013. Used with permission.