to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”
– William Martin
Often we get caught up in seeking only that which is extraordinary, assuming that our lives have less meaning if we’re not experiencing exciting, magical things. But real life is full of ordinary moments that hold their own simple beauty. Paying attention to those moments is what gives life meaning and contentment.
I’ve set an intention to be more mindful this summer, and so I am celebrating the ordinary. It might be my children’s laughter, a campfire, the sound of rain, or the pot my mom used to cook our meals in.
I invite you to celebrate with me. Pay attention to the little things that give your life meaning. When you witness them, pause for a moment and simply celebrate the simple gift you’ve been given. If you wish, share your celebration on social media and tag it with #celebratetheordinary so we can celebrate with you.
This big beautiful tree stands in front of my house. When we were looking for a home, “mature trees” was high on my wish list. I got my wish.
There is nothing extraordinary about this pot. Nothing that makes it worthy of Instagram. Nothing that would make you look twice if you saw it at a garage sale. And yet… It holds so much more than the rice I’m cooking for supper. It holds the memories of my childhood meals, of fresh potatoes from Mom’s garden, of the many ears of corn she put up for winter, of cabbage borscht and waffle sauce. It holds the faint etchings of that first burnt meal I scraped off when I was still learning to cook. It holds a mother’s nourishing and a daughter’s remembering.
I complain sometimes about having to mark students’ assignments, but it’s really not that much of a hardship, especially with a chai latte at hand. In four years, I’ve had the privilege of touching a lot of lives, and being touched by them in return. Their ideas, stories, passion, hopes, and interests show up on the page and I get to bear witness.
Just tie up your running shoes and begin again. And again. As many times as it takes.
The fridge is clean! There are no unidentifiable science experiments growing in the back of it!