I love surprises.

I love all of the excitement that comes with them. I’ve always been a fan of surprise parties (equally as the giver and the recipient). Even as a kid, I’ve always loved surprising people by leaving them little tokens of my love.

There is something very exciting about receiving unexpected gifts. They certainly have a charming way of expressing one’s love. There is something grand even in little surprises. But I’ve come to find that these aren’t necessarily the things that stick, that really take root. Consistency outlasts intensity. We see this in sports, in character, in relationships.

Which trend convinces us most?

I have found that as much as big surprises and grand gestures might make a greater immediate impact, it is those quieter, simpler encounters that leave the deeper impression.

It’s not as much the great celebrations filled with dancing and homemade wine, but holding my godfather’s hand when he was sick. It’s not as much the fun outings with my mom, but just being able to sip coffee and savor the beauty of her eyes.

It’s not as much the big missionary excursion trips to the mountains, but the every day jam-packed van rides where music and joy compete for volume. It’s not as much the moment your friend on the street gets housing, but the random snowball fights you had with him and relishing in each other’s laughter.

It’s these simple, unassuming moments that have touched the depths of my heart, transforming it. It’s these hidden gems that fill each ordinary day.

But we must allow ourselves to be simple enough to receive them.

I don’t think that I would be able to see, let alone appreciate, these simple moments if I didn’t first experience the richness of them in Christ. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love and cherish the moments when God reveals His love like a tsunami, completely rocking my world. But really, it’s the silent, simple, ordinary time with Him that most convinces me of His love. It’s simply being with Him, looking at Him, and resting in Him.

This is my prayer at its best.

I first realized this in the Eucharist—most revealed and unfathomable paradox of simplicity and profundity. King of kings and Lord of lords contained in a small, humble piece of bread. And what I find, time and time again, is that He just beckons me to look. That simple.

I don’t always need to say, explain, ask, beg, think, read, recite. I simply need to look at Him, for in His Gaze is everything. It contains both the question and the answer, without uttering a single word. These sacred encounters have not only deepened my faith, but they’ve sensitized me to the richness of simple encounters with others. Doing small things with great love is no longer just a command, but something hoped for.

I really believe that this is one of the essentials for remaining a missionary for life, even though my time at Christ in the City has ended. Time, space, school, job, family, are not limits to the missionary heart, but blessed opportunities for it to further grow. The key is not to pass them up, waiting for a more radical way to love, but rather allowing ourselves to be simple.

Bri is from Shelton, Connecticut. She served as a Christ in the City missionary from 2014-2016 and currently works at Bella Natural Women’s Care in Denver, CO. She enjoys bear hugs, starry skies, and all things ice cream.