And while it takes courage to achieve greatness, it takes more courage to find fulfillment in being ordinary. For the joys that last have little relationship to achievement, to standing one step higher on the victory platform. What is the adventure in being ordinary? It is daring to love just for the pleasure of giving it away. It is venturing to give new life and to nurture it to maturity. It is working hard for the pure joy of being tired at the end of the day. It is caring and sharing and giving and loving…
– Marilyn Thomsen
Ordinary days, days filled with menial tasks like washing dishes, going to work, making dinner, doing laundry; the kind of days that aren’t highlighted with adventure, excitement, and fun, or the days that we all dread; the days when we have to face something difficult and painful. The times in our lives when sorrow and grief fill our bones with sadness and the longing for those days when we do not have to ache for relief.
I want to acknowledge the ordinary parts of life. We have more of these days than the excitement-filled or grief stricken days. So, let’s talk about them. Let’s talk about how beautiful they are in their ordinariness.
I have learned to truly appreciate them. When I was younger, I had years of upheaval and pain. It became a way of life to manage high drama, fear, pain, and disruption. I had no ordinary days then. I longed for them, but I didn’t know how to find them in my chaotic and uncertain world.
Years later, when I finally matured, found a better life for me and my children, and began to settle into a calm routine, I discovered ordinary days. These days had a beautiful rhythm to them and they offered me some peace and quiet so I could concentrate on what was happening inside of me instead of outside of me. I began to love these ordinary, stress free days.
These days my life has now been built around them. I have learned the value of the insights and peace they offer. I am not saying I only want these kinds of days. I love the excitement of planning big events, whether they are vacations, parties, or fun dinners with friends. I love the way this shakes up my routine and gives me the joy of creating beyond my quiet day.
I have also accepted that difficult days will continue to happen. I dread these days, but I know they are part of life. I never want to hear again that someone I love has cancer, or has suddenly passed away without a chance for me to say goodbye, or to feel the pain of mine or someone else’s broken or sick body. And, the gut wrenching pain of leaving a marriage and seeing our children cry is beyond what any of us want to experience, but we all do, in varying degrees. We all experience those times of loss, fear, and soul searching pain, ….. and we will continue to have these difficult days.
These times shape us into who we are and our hearts become bigger and more capable of navigating this world because of them. They are necessary. They are a part of the agreement of being here. And, they are the reason I value and find such beauty in the ordinary days; those exquisitely mundane times that weave our years together with their rhythmic, soothing sameness that shows us how to come back to the port after the turbulent seas have tossed us around, or after the excitement of a fun voyage that has given us the playful times we’ve needed.
I never take these ordinary days for granted. I cherish them, because I know there will be other days that will give me the fun, excitement, opportunity, and creativity my soul reaches for. And, I also know I’ll have the painful days that will stretch my broken heart into a more pliable vessel.
We all need the continuity of ordinary days. They are the quiet spaces in between the heartbeats that give us the chance to prepare, with calm insights, for those extraordinary days that will expand us, whether they end up being joyful or painful.
What a beautiful design; to know that with each active beat of our joy-filled or sorrow absorbed heart, there is a space compassionately created so we can rest, gain insight, and get ready for the next expanding beat.
Our brains actually thrive on this ordinary routine. Our serotonin levels are replenished while doing something rhythmic. So, from a physiological point of view it is healthy to have a routine that allows us to create sameness in an ordinary, no frills day.
Never underestimate the beauty, power, and purpose of our ordinary days. They are a necessary part of this perfectly balanced design.