The other night in bed, I told my husband, “I’m sad.” That’s not a statement I allow myself to say out loud very often, and never without being prompted first; but something about that dark space felt safe, so I risked it.
“I know,” was his response, which was comforting in and of itself, to be seen and known by the man I love most. And then he added, “I wish I could make it better, but I’m still here, and I love you.”
I teared up as I thought of Ted Lasso’s famous quote from Season 1.
“There’s something worse than being sad, and that’s being sad and alone… ain’t nobody in this room is alone.” And then I thought about what a beautiful reflection John was to me of Jesus in that moment, and I was once again grateful for a good marriage to a good man. My sadness didn’t suddenly disappear, but after a few more minutes it began to feel a little bit lighter.
Becca Jordan’s new album, Becoming Ordinary, gives me a similar feeling, as she taps into the power of the Holy Spirit and whispers words of grace and comfort to her listeners.
Her first song, “Prologue,” begins this way:
When all the lights go out And you are sitting in the dark Pay attention, pay attention —Becca Jordan
A few weeks before I began writing my review of this album, I started reading a book that repeatedly asks the main character to pay attention, so when I heard Becca sing that last line, I figured I should listen closely.
In the dark is a voice In the voice is a song In the song a love that sees you —Becca Jordan
Carter Jones, the main character in the aforementioned book, is told virtually the same message by an unlikely figure who appears just when Carter needs him most.
In the dark is a voice In the voice is a song In the song an invitation —Becca Jordan
Becca repeats the chorus with conviction as the melody intensifies to reflect the urgency of her message, and it’s the perfect beginning to an album that goes on to give us example after example of ordinary communion with an extraordinary God.
The second song, “All I’ve Got,” demonstrates the importance of saying things out loud, and bending down when we pray. Sorrow, loneliness, and anger are all acceptable offerings when we put them on the altar of God, trusting him for transformation. Like the psalmists of old, Becca pours out her heart to the Lord in song, trusting that he cares for her as much as the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.
One of my favorite lines from this album comes near the end of the song “Human,” where she sings, “you’re not afraid of me.” This song feels like a journal entry I could have written myself, as it wrestles with dashed hopes and too-high expectations. Becca confesses the shortcomings of her day to God, but finds a soft place to land as she remembers that he knows and understands her humanity even more than she does.
You’re not afraid of me I don’t have to be Anything other than Human —Becca Jordan
On Becca’s website she says that this record is about “leaving behind all the illusions of what I thought my life would be, and picking up what it is—mundane, sometimes deeply lonely, sometimes fraught with joy, and mostly just very ordinary—and giving it to God.” Her words remind me how the longest part of the liturgical year is called Ordinary Time, so named for the fact that it’s not focused on activity and celebration. Rather it’s the day to day life where simple things like caring for others and being obedient to the Lord are the focus. Jordan’s song “Ordinary, Everyday Love” brings these ideas under the microscope in the lives of Sam, Dale, and Gene, giving concrete examples of what it looks like to love others.
Sorrow, loneliness, and anger are all acceptable offerings when we put them on the altar of God, trusting him for transformation. Janna Barber
My favorite song on this album is called “Memory.” Becca says that it grew out of her work with the elderly, where she often plays music at a group home. Over time she noticed that some of the residents who were usually not engaged would liven up when she sang songs they recognized. Becca likens this to our walk with Christ, how we’re prone to forget that we really are known and loved, but then we have an encounter that wakes up a sleeping part of our hearts and reminds us of the truth. I love how this song echoes Zephaniah 3:17, which tells us that God rejoices over us with singing.
Becoming Ordinary has many gems that sparkle, but the one I’ll mention last is called “Daylight.” Becca’s voice conveys the compassion necessary for this simple song to work, as she sings directly to a hurting friend, promising that things will be better soon. I’m thankful for the way this whole album reminds me that presence is often the best gift you can give someone and that small, ordinary acts of kindness ripple out into eternity, long after they’re done.