The Magic of Ordinary Days

Most nights, there’s absolutely nothing to watch on TV.   That’s why it’s so unprecedented that this coming Sunday, there are two fabulous options showing at the same time (darn it all!).

One is the second installment of Masterpiece Theatre’s Emma, which, as expected, is an absolute treat of a film.  The second is a Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie (yes, really) called The Magic of Ordinary Days.

I saw this film when it aired for the first time a few years ago.  It takes place during WWII;  Keri Russell plays a young college student who becomes pregnant by a soldier fighting overseas.  Her cartoonishly-strict dad tries to cover up the disgrace by finding a guy for her to marry, and quickly.  This is how she ends up becoming the wife of a young farmer she doesn’t know and living in a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.  In its bare outlines, the plot sounds like some cheesy romance novel (and yes, there are moments in the movie that strain belief), but as a whole it’s a movie that is very worth watching … mostly because, in a pretty profound way, it reflects Mary’s story.

At its core, The Magic of Ordinary Days looks at the curveballs of life — the events that can suddenly set us careening down a different road in life, heading far away from our original destination.    The unexpected pregnancy, the job loss, the sick family member who requires constant care, the cross-country move — all of these things happen.  What I like about the film is that it shows, in a sweet and uplifting way, that there’s a grace that can come from these seismic shifts in our original plans.

And nobody knew this better than Mary (and, of course, Joseph).   I’m sure they expected to have a pretty normal family life — until that angel came along and told Mary that she had been chosen to be the Mother of God.  An ordinary life pretty much goes out the window after that.  I often wonder if there were moments when they had little twinges of mourning for that life they’d always envisioned.  I suppose they’d hardly be human if they didn’t.  In the end, though, they found the grace that comes with embracing the massive change in their plans.  For someone like me — who likes to know in advance what’s coming up, who always has to mentally prep for the week ahead, who doesn’t really dig surprises — that’s a message well worth remembering.

Hmm.  I guess it’s time to set our antiquated VCR again.

UPDATE:  Aww, man: I got the date wrong.  The movie was on Saturday.  Sigh. This is what happens when I blog late at night.  It’s still worth watching, though, and available on DVD …

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