Humans make things. If not, as an architect, I would be out of a job.

We make the calendar. And mashed potatoes. And religious rites. I love mashed potatoes, and the Episcopal Church. And we all use a calendar others have made for us. The making of a calendar for the Episcopal Church means that we are now in “Ordinary Time” — that half-year of non-events. According to the calendar, Christ was born 4 months from now, He was murdered 4 months ago, and these summer months are a denouement to end the year with a whimper.

But this is painfully not an “Ordinary Time.”

For the first time in a hundred years of wars, racism, pollution, technological explosion, and governmental revolution, humans are fraught with a plague that we had limited part in creating, and, seemingly, limited ability to cope with.

Once in five generations is not “Ordinary.”

And here in Connecticut where I live, the dying gasps of a former hurricane swept through and added misery to injury. In six hours it did more damage than the last full blown hurricane did nearly a decade ago. Not “Ordinary” indeed.

We are not “Ordinary” either. In the billions of years life has been around, no other species has made so much out of what they had no hand in making. We are the Kings Of Our Own Glory, so ignorant of our fragility that we are shocked when things just don’t go the way we had planned, when things are not “Ordinary.”

A pandemic and a hurricane at once: no electricity, no hugs, no air conditioning, and no sense of normalcy. 2020 seems to be mocking our hopes at every turn. We have no power, indeed.

God has made us know what we always sorta knew: that we are not in charge, no matter how much we try to take charge of what God has left for us to do. Not a good realization for this megalomaniac architect.

We may long for the advent of Christmas magic, when sentimentality is fully channeled in the dimming light of early winter, with Jesus (and the renewed light) appearing on a reliably fixed date. The joys of an Easter Resurrection fully overwhelm our wounded souls. But we are Ordinary now, and perhaps always have been.

What we do not want to know is that life itself is the “Ordinary Time” made for us. We did not make life, let alone ourselves. No matter how outraged we are at the things we make — economic free-fall, racism, climate change, bad mashed potatoes (which do outrage me) — we can only be legitimately angered by what we have done to ourselves.

I did not choose to be born. None of us did. My white, male, Ivy privilege was given to me, as was the cruelty of a family where children were brutalized by a parent’s alcoholism and another’s assist in that that brutality (to the point of suicide, it turns out). I did not ask for those things either. We do not control what we have been given.

The disease, the hurricane, the beauty of the birds, even the gifts of God that I use every day to make things, are not made by me. What is intolerable to me and many is that it is “Ordinary” to be powerless beyond our own reach. I wish I knew what to do beyond work. It is the seminal gift God gave us – applied action. It is all that we have, and all that I have ever had. And even that was a gift, I did not earn it, either.

We may lose the events we pin our work to, and working simply to be able to work is what we are left with.