On its own the title for this inspirational journey makes no sense. Of course, the words are understandable. Everyone knows what ordinariness is. And sweetness is a no-brainer! But together, who knows? What is missing is a context.
Actually, context is more important than we usually think it is. So often, meaning is gained when we know the context. For this phrase, “ordinariness into sweetness” (the text), to mean anything, we need other surrounding words (providing the “con,” which means “with,” for the text!). Those surrounding words form a context. They would shape to how we are supposed to understand “ordinariness into sweetness.”
Let me build the context by making suggestions. The first suggestion is when I came up with the phrase, “ordinariness into sweetness,” I was thinking of Halloween. No doubt, now the “get” half of it! Halloween---candy---sweetness! And you are exactly right. Everyone thinks of candy when the Halloween season approaches.
In fact, you probably have enough of a context, you could begin making reasonable guesses as to what I may mean. “Oh,” you might say, “with respect to candy all other days are rather ordinary. But on Halloween, candy is in excess and kids run wild!” That would be true. It would be a good guess.
Let me add another suggestion with a second “H” word: Holy. “Ordinariness into sweetness”---Halloween---Holy. That may have confused the situation more than enlightened it. So if I explain some more, then I am providing more context for my meaning. And so I will.
Halloween is about candy, to be sure. But that is more the secular “take” on the last day in October. I am not against candy, nor secularity (well, sometimes I am against secularity!). But there is a deeper significance to Halloween than candy. The Holy is the spiritual “take” on that October day. Originally, Halloween had to do with holiness. And I am always for that.
I prefer the Latin word for holiness, namely, sanctus. That gives us our English word, saint. A saint is a holy person. Some traditions insist that we wait until someone is dead before proclaiming him or her a saint. I guess I am impatient. I like living saints, too! I am not one…but I have known some.
Let me suggest further that I think saints are sweet. Historically, “sweetness” is a metaphor for God, the Holy, and holy ones. I am also convinced one is not born a saint. One is made a saint---made by who one becomes and what one does.
In fact, “saint-making” is the process of transforming “ordinariness into sweetness.” And there you have it: the full context. We enter the season the Christian tradition honors all those who have completed the transformative process of turning their ordinariness into sweetness.
I have already said I am not there. In fact, in many ways I am not even doing a very good job. Too often, I prefer candy! But that sweetness is temporary and is of no use to anyone in this world.
But it is not too late. I would like to choose and do better. Lord knows, I have enough ordinariness! But with some effort, attentiveness, and grace, I can be sweeter. And so can you---if you want!