Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In Praise of the Ordinary


Gentle music fills the air. My favorite CD Morning Mood mingles classical “hits” with the sounds of nature ~~ waterfalls, birdsong, raindrops . . . Assam tea fills my generous Blue Italian teacup. Books spill about as I linger in my favorite chair, feet atop ottoman, and gaze out onto the frosted landscape of my oh-so-familiar gardens.

Ordinary . . . Simple . . . Familiar . . . these words brings comfort to my soul like a well-worn quilt carried overland to a prairie dugout, working its way down a family tree to rest on one’s weary shoulders generations later. The faded fabric and frayed hems cloak with a peace in knowing exactly how you will feel as you snuggle into the “same old” thing.

Routine can become rut, but anyone who has endured nights at a sick child’s bedside, or made the rounds locking up in the absence of a husband who generally performs the nightly task, or traipsed through an airport in vain effort to catch the last flight (long since gone) only to receive a night’s stay in the strange airport knows the comfort and delight of “same old.”

Of late my life has settled into that squishy, easy routine of “same old.” Holiday happenings have ceased, exchanging heavy meals for simpler fair served under the same glowing candles. Busy mornings spent sorting through the tasks of the day at hand, taking into account those that have spilled over undone from yesterday, and evenings wrestled to the ground before dropping into bed for a few blinks of rest before the next round of activity begins have smoothed into a less-demanding cadence that allows me to walk, not run . . . sip not, slurp . . . linger, not hasten.

Last night I met a friend at a local coffeehouse and we whiled away two hours chatting over this and that and t’other. This summit of two moms, two friends, two sisters-of-the-heart nourished our lives with eye-contact and giggles and shared lives – necessities for joy in living that we neglect all too often in favor of folding laundry, scrubbing pans, and all the rest that we must do to make a house a home. We solved no problems (actually hardly mentioned our woes, though we both carry a hefty load of them), enacted no treaties, charted no course – save for securing a spot next month for more of the same; and yet, I know I walked in home’s door that night with a twinkle in my smile that I hadn’t walked out with. I fed that piece of me that needed to rest in an ordinary moment with a friend and laugh along this path we call life.

All over this globe people walk their own path. Our definition of ordinary varies wildly, but we all need that stasis, that peaceful place to unwind and relax. We dream of best, but often settle for far less. Many years ago I fell into despair over the overwhelming pressures of my daily load. I nearly gave up all hope that a “best” life existed for me. A dear, dear friend cupped my chin and gazed deeply into my tear-filled eyes as she spoke of seeking the best, despite the circumstances. My life changed, though not overnight, and I saw “best” grow and shade my daily life. I still struggle, I still toss the towel down in a huff, but I never give up. I bask in the shady refuge found under the branches of that dream called “best” rooted at the heart of my home. I’ve encountered enough extra-ordinary things in my life to take great pleasure in the ordinary, the calm, the gentle, the PLAIN AND BORING events that feel like paradise after the bumpy and unsettling.

Today my husband attends a conference in another town, the thermometer still registers brrrrrrrrr, the girls have already had a spat over a borrowed/missing ruler, my eldest girl has left for the day to attend class, and my son (who lately wrestles with temper issues which make for difficult exchanges, as his autism robs him of tools badly needed in the absence of adequate expressive language) sleeps a bit longer with my blessing as I sit here in my favorite chair sipping my favorite tea, enjoying a moment of utter joy suspended on the cusp of another day in the life . . .

I wish you peace as you find a moment to share this joy with me . . . this ordinary miracle of contentment in the midst of a world beyond our control.

It is well . . .

10 comments:

Kat said...

Contentment. It is such a lovely word to me. One of the best. Happy with the way things are. Needing nothing more. I love the "same old, same old" routines of life that sometimes drive other people crazy.
This post hit me just right. :)

Kathy said...

and Peace be with you too!

Assam tea? that's a new one to me. I'll have to look it up.

Judith said...

It's a lovely picture. I'm just sitting - I actually have to because I just gave blood - but just to sit and see what folks all over are doing, or not, is a pleasure. I suppose that I should add that in my country donating blood is voluntary for the common good. So I'll accept your cup of tea whilst I build up my fluids.

Becky said...

I ditto every word albeit in a slightly less relaxing setting/position. Right down to the son with the temper. His skills will come. :-) Smiling with you sister.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

lovely....

imbeingheldhostage said...

You've woven a beautiful word tapestry here and I feel so much more... relaxed, just for having read it.

THIS would be an inspiring excerpt from a book I would buy!

Karen Deborah said...

oohhh lovely and calming to read. Just one problem, I'm jealous of the 2 hour visit in the coffee house...miss you.
The photo of your garden is spectacular, misty, other worldly,... just awesome.

Flea said...

Mmm. You capture the ordinary quite well. And girl's night out - it's about time for one of those. Thank you for the reminder.

Dawn said...

Your calm contentment is contagious. :) This was a lovely post. I love the ordinary, every day routine of my life as well.

blushing rose said...

Lovely presentation.

May I ask you to help us bring the word to all about a special cause ~

www.hopeforscarlett.com.

This little girl needs help, I need to reach out to the world to help me help her. I am working with a non-profit organization to assist Scarlett, 2 yrs. old.

PTL ~ Marydon