Valiant Ordinary Deeds

“Deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

There is much of life’s work which is hidden and goes unnoticed by the world; however, completing the often hidden duties of one’s state in life is work that the Church has always praised.

St. Philip Neri (b. 1515- d. 1595) said:

“He who bears what God sends him daily does not do a small thing.”

Yes, it is not a small thing to faithfully complete the tasks of the day, and they are, as Tolkien said, not the less valiant because they are not praised.

In a world obsessed by social media, or the praising of oneself and one’s life in a public forum, it might be difficult to cut the cord of the search for public praise, but it might be healthier to cut this cord. The desire for public praise is potentially a swamp which might pull in its victims, where they can find no happiness in the ordinary world of the ordinary man who works an ordinary job, is married to an ordinary woman who begets ordinary children, and drives about in an ordinary car which is often splattered with fingerprints, a lost shoe, or a spilled drink.

There are no Instagram stars in this ordinary life; yet, this life is a world filled with adventure, where the flames of true love, which are characterized by valor, honor, and the keeping to one’s vows and promises, cloaks its occupants with something mysterious, something called personal integrity. The ordinary man is one person, and is not split apart by the need to form an ever- changing social media persona, which must change to meet the whims of fickle followers.

So, if you find that you have nothing exciting to post on Facebook or Instagram, do not grieve; rather, rejoice, for you are in the company of a long string of ordinary men who lived quiet lives, out of the view of the world, and who followed God by faithfully completing the tasks of the day. These were valorous men, who found that God gave them much labor, but, also, much adventure in the mix.

These men slept well at night while they lived, and can rest in peace, having lived valiant ordinary lives.