What do you think of when I say ‘ordinary’?
Normal? Boring? Unimportant?
So then, what is an ‘ordinary life’?
Get a job, pay bills, juggle kids’ activities (if you have them), buying groceries, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, and crying over how bad that last thing you tried from Pinterest turned out.
The Olympics just wrapped up, and for two weeks we watched, breathless, as some of the most talented and disciplined athletes in the world complete for glory and country. That, we say, is extraordinary. I follow a Facebook group called the Jessie Rees Project. Jessie was just twelve when she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer (DiPG). As she was going through treatment, she looked around at all the other kids in the pediatric cancer center and wanted them to have something that made them happy. She and her family started raising money to send ‘Joy Jars’ to kids all over the country (now the world). She passed away a short time later and her family continues her work. They are extraordinary.
I think we all admire the extraordinary. Maybe on the global scale, like those examples, maybe on a smaller scale. We all know that one extraordinary person who seems to make friends effortlessly, or who has brilliant business sense, or is super creative.
And somehow, I think we feel less when we look at ourselves and see ourselves as ordinary.
I want to challenge that. There is power in an ordinary life, if you embrace your life. In not letting your job, or your income, or your house, or your status define you. In going to work, paying your bills, and finding the happiness in everyday life. In finally flopping into a chair at the end of the day and realizing you got your work done, got food (of some sort) on the table, the family was where they were supposed to be, everyone is reasonably clean, and the house hasn’t fallen apart.
Yep. Nailed it.
We don’t, of course. We take those precious few minutes and think about how we didn’t get that load of laundry done, we were 5 minutes late to soccer practice, and dinner was chicken nuggets (again). We need to stop. We need to be kind and gentle with ourselves and grateful for what we have. I am thankful that we have enough clothes that if the laundry didn’t get done, my family has things they can wear until I get to it. I am grateful that we have food to fuel us. I am grateful that my car is working and that my kids have the opportunity to participate in sports to enjoy being outside and moving their bodies.
And once in a while, you just sit back and look at the life you’ve made. See your choices reflected in it. Love what you have – even if you see things you want to change.
Tonight, I’m going to sit with my family around a little bonfire in the backyard and make s’mores and read stories. A completely ordinary evening. Nothing special. Yet, it contains within it everything that is magical and amazing in my life. It is time to reflect and be happy.
And that, my friends, is extraordinary.
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