Consider the items in the following list: the smell of hot coffee or freshly baked bread, the first freshness of fall in the air, the delight of your pet when you walk through the door, the beauty of candlelight or a peach and purple sunset, the sound of children laughing or a dear friend’s voice, the comfort of a favorite chair, the feel of clean sheets or a soft blanket, a generous helping of your favorite dessert, the sound of the backdoor slamming as a loved one returns home. I hope you found it almost impossible not to smile as you read along. And just think, as Merriam-Webster defines them, everything on this list falls into the category of the “ordinary.” The dictionary defines “ordinary” as routine, usual, expected in the normal order of events,” and I suppose that’s true of these things and countless more, until they aren’t ordinary…
Four years ago, I learned a huge lesson about the treasure of ordinary things when I was sidelined for 3 months recovering from a major surgery. Confined to the sofa in the den, I spent week after week listening to the happy chatter of family and friends preparing meals in my kitchen and later loading the dishwasher. Despite being lavished with tender loving care and making slow but sure progress in my recovery, I began to feel more and more depressed and deprived. I became obsessed by this one thought: I wanted to load my own dishwasher!! I wanted to smell the fragrance of dishwashing detergent and feel warm soapy water on my hands. I imagined holding my own dishes as if they were priceless museum pieces. In a word, I desperately wanted a return to the ordinary, everyday, continually repeating routines of my daily life. Before my surgery, I had either blissfully sailed through these activities giving them no thought at all or, heaven forbid, I had actually complained about them!
Truth be told, I have now fallen back into some complaining, but by and large the lesson remains with me: we are surrounded by countless “ordinary” gifts in our day to day lives which could actually be called by a different name: priceless.
The Wonder of the Ordinary
let me be aware of the treasure you are.
Mary Jane Irion
“Weeds are flowers too,
once you get to know them…”
Eeyore of Winnie the Pooh
There are two ways to live your life.
One is as if nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Laughing is the shortest distance
between two people.
Music gives wings to the mind,
a soul to the universe,
flight to the imagination,
a charm to sadness,
a life to everything.
Never lose an opportunity
to see anything beautiful,
for beauty is God’s handwriting.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I will never understand all the good
that a simple smile can accomplish.
May you take time to celebrate
the quiet miracles
that seek no attention.
The whole world is full of miracles,
but we are so used to them
we call them ordinary things.
Hans Christian Andersen
The little things? The little moments?
They aren’t little.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance
through the knowledge of God
and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has given us
everything we need for life.
II Peter 1:2