So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
Sometimes I enjoy the ordinary day. Today, though, let’s just say that I am less than enamored with said “Ordinary Day”. This particular day is just SO ORDINARY! I thought it might be a good idea to write about this ordinariness (Is that a word?) that can be such an unwelcome guest. I am relatively confident that I do not suffer from this aversion to the ordinary day alone. If I do, though, please don’t feel the need to enlighten me!
I looked up the definition of the word, ordinary, on Google and, as is customary of Google, I found more than I asked for about the word. Here are some of the words/terms Google uses to define the word, ordinary: with no special or distinctive features, normal, uninteresting, commonplace, average, run-of the mill, standard, typical, middle-of-the-road, conventional, unremarkable, unexceptional, workaday,…colorless, humdrum, mundane,…dull, boring…
Okay, I get it already! None of these definitions has made me feel better.
What is it? What is it that can cause me to have this sense that there must be more to life than this? Our culture seems to suggest that there is an item I need to purchase that will make my life worth living. I feel as though I am constantly assaulted by advertisements for products that will certainly change my life! These ads seem to imply that, if I do not acquire the wonderful product that they have made for me, I will never be beautiful, thin, smart, rich, in the right crowd, successful, or happy. To add insult to injury is the fact that I don’t have enough money to purchase those products which promise to fix my “colorless” life. It is no wonder that I feel like my life is somehow lacking on the days when I have nothing new or different to occupy my time.
But, what about those ordinary days when I am at peace with the mundane? What is it about those days that are different from this one? What is the elusive difference and how can I claim it on demand? Author, Terry Hershey, in his book, The Power of Pause said, “In our rush to avoid the mundane, we miss the miracles of the ordinary.” He goes on to say, “The spiritual life begins with this simple sentence: “I’ve never noticed that before.”
This begins to make sense to me now. I find that I most enjoy the ordinary days that I spend with my six-year-old granddaughter, Abby. She lives in a perpetual state of enchantment with the world around her. Her enthusiasm for any task (dusting the furniture, using the Swiffer on the floor, stirring the brownies, washing the dishes) or any outing (to Whataburger with Granddaddy, to Walmart for groceries, to the mailbox to get the bills) is contagious! (You can imagine her delight with the moon, a bunny in the yard, or a rainbow!)
“I’ve never noticed that before.” We have to remember how to wonder….how to see, to touch, to smell, to feel, to love, to belong. When we do that, we learn to delight in the wonders of the world that are right here, right now.”
I think Terry Hershey gets it. When I find myself lamenting the ordinary, rather than being present in the moment, I miss the point of the day. I miss the blessings of the present. I lose my ability to receive the grace God offers me each day. What a shame it would be if I did not hold myself accountable and accept nothing less than living in this wonderfully made moment.
“Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles. Lord, fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing. Let there be moments when your Presence, like lightning, illumines the darkness in which we walk. Help us to see, wherever we gaze, that the bush burns, unconsumed. And we, clay touched by God, will reach out for holiness and exclaim in wonder, “How filled with awe is this place and we did not know it.”
–Mishkan Tefilah, Jewish Sabbath Prayer Book