the extraordinary ordinary.


as i put child three to bed tonight, as i returned fort-built couch cushions to the couch & stepped through the toy strew, i thought over our very ordinary day.  i had had high hopes, & basically, i fed children & slogged heavily through a few math problems with young, frustrated minds.  important things, true, but i had hoped for so much more.

some days, all you can hope for is to finish.

let’s be honest:  a great deal of our precious time in this one wild & precious life is spent on the mundane.  every day, we have very everyday things to do.  the dog needs to eat, & the children, the bills need paying & the car fixing.  there are thank you’s to write, & the bathrooms.  for the love, the bathrooms.  & if you are like us, every light bulb hit its timer & has now blown out.  it’s like girls with their time of the month or something.

& yet, we have this cultural dogma circling us, taunting, even:  you have one life!  live it!  chase your dreams & live big & make the most!!  just this morning i was trolling facebook, er, making breakfast when i tripped into this mantra again:

just one.  you have just one life.

& why aren’t we chasing our dreams like we’re on fire.
because i feel like i’m actually on fire, for crying out loud.

frankly, there are plenty of days my big-ticket dreams aren’t on the radar.  i don’t hold a bus & a farm & glorious roadtrips always before my eyes, carefully plotting & goal-achieving.  & to be even more frank, there are plenty of days when slogging through a fog of depression is all i can do to keep my head above water, whispering a prayer for grace.  because, as much as life is beautiful, it’s also brutal.  we both know this is true.

so how do we rectify the ordinary that needs to be done & dealt with with the extraordinary we long for in the deepest parts of us?
i’m convinced we don’t have to live in the muck.  i refuse, actually.

maybe this will help:

hope begins in the dark,
the stubborn hope that if we just show up
& try to do the right thing,
the dawn will come.
–anne lamott

as i thought about the ordinary, everyday mess of my life & the dreams i carry in my belly, it occurred to me that an extraordinary life is built on very ordinary bricks.  if we will just show up, again & again & again, striving to just do the next right thing, those things will sprout & grow into something bigger than we are, especially in the hand of God.  & if we can train our eyes to seek out the good, the right, the beautiful, we will see it, & that is the beginning of everything.

we are art, you & i, & we need to keep reminding ourselves.
we were made for greatness.
& i have a feeling all these couch cushions strewn about have something to do with it, even if it doesn’t look like it just now.

8 thoughts on “the extraordinary ordinary.

  1. Depression…I was hospitalized last fall with that and it made me very frightened to be diagnosed with it…not just sad, which I’d been before, but diagnosed as “major depressive disorder”‘ “ill”. A week in the hospital and three months of group therapy was very helpful, medication and a change of location. I’m much better. But I know depression and know now that it comes like waves in the ocean and it recedes like waves in the ocean, too. The sun does come again. I hope your clouds are not too dark and that they blow over quickly.

  2. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete. Deut.. 16-15
    Even in the mundane there is joy to be found. Just look at how Mr. L’s body is an expression of joy as he’s running from the barns. Carefree yet on a mission – every moment new. Can we ask for more?
    You are living life fully and are blessing others as you live it. I can’t wait to see the lives of your children unfold….

  3. The wisdom here is that the extraordinary is built on the foundation of the everyday-one step at a time, going on to do the next right thing. Depression, wishing for free time, jealousies of others’ seemingly simple lives, are all part of the everyday battle. I thoroughly appreciate your writing.

  4. ‘An extraordinary life is built on very ordinary bricks’. That’s worth remembering. Thanks, Jill. The older one gets the more the aforementioned quote hits home!

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