a contented heart · cultivating gratitude · looking ahead · no regrets

Have You Ever Resented Ordinary?

I certainly haven’t always appreciated ordinary. 

I’ve resented it and complained many a time about the ordinary. There’s something about endless stretches of mundane routine that can drive a person crazy almost as fast as wild chaos.

The ordinary is easily overlooked and under-appreciated and yet it has a beauty all its own. I’m an ordinary human so I need to be reminded of this today and I’ll need it again tomorrow.

Many times I’ve longed for less of the mundane and more of the exciting. I haven’t bothered to weigh the privilege of ordinary against the thrill of adventure.

As we prepare to move, however, I realize that many things that are ordinary to me now will soon be a memory. I will trade in ordinary for new. And I already know there’s going to be a lot of times I’ll want my ordinary back. 

Today it’s ordinary, nothing more. It’s boring. Predictable. It’s small or cramped or unkempt. 

Tomorrow, though, ordinary means familiar. Ordinary is what I’ve known. It’s home. It’s security. 

The flash of yellow as a goldfinch darts in front of the kitchen window.

The harsh jangle of the door bell as a child punches it relentlessly.

The toys spilling out of baskets beneath the shelf of cookbooks. 

The way the dining room light shines on the floor and how the shadows fall in the living room.

The hum of clothes tossing around in the dryer.

The sound of the dishwasher washing the evening’s dishes after the children are tucked in bed.

Ordinary is so, well, ordinary: average, the unadorned simplicity of the everyday. There is nothing gaudy or pretentious about ordinary. Often it’s equated with boring and common.

Yet for all its quiet homespun casualness, ordinary has a dignity and charm that the most exciting travels cannot boast of. 

The way the morning sun shines in the window, the kinds of homey knick-knacks scattered throughout our homes, and the easy way we kick off shoes or reach for the ketchup bottle on its customary frig shelf speak of comfort and privilege of the highest form – the wealth and privilege of home and safety. 

When I remember these things about ordinary, it takes on a kind of sacredness. Ordinary may be ever so humble and yet it’s priceless. 

There’s a time for grand adventure, for daring and ruthless and bold, for uncharted, unplanned and enchanting.

But there’s a time for comfortable and homey and relaxing too. Yes, there’s a time for ordinary too. 

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