Recently I had the chance to speak to forty-five women at an overnight retreat in the woods. Retreats always seem to pull me out of my daily routine and help me sense God's presence in a more tangible way. Wind blowing through trees; birds busily hopping from branch to branch; sunlight glinting off water. Nature speaks to me the song of Creation.
"A good teacher is a good student first. By repeating his lessons, he acquires excellence." --M.K. Soni
The following Monday, I awoke with a resolve to live my ordinary life and stop obsessing about when my house would sell.
Tuesday, ordinary included a dental hygiene appointment, which turned into a three hour marathon including replacing an old filling. I distinctly do not remember scheduling both procedures together, but there I was. To celebrate, I treated myself with a bacon milkshake from Jack in the Box. Interesting. The evening improved when I went for a pedicure with some girlfriends. As I was leaving, the neighbor stopped by to inform us dewberries were ripe. So the Captain set off with three kids and two buckets while I drove away.
Wednesday, my realtor called bright and early with news of a potential offer on our house. Trying to preserve ordinary, I made a quick trip to the grocery for supplies to preserve a gallon of dewberries. On the way out of the parking lot, another vehicle and mine backed into one another. Boo.
Thursday, we declined the contingent offer on our house. Nice price, but too much string attached. As consolation, I made dewberry cheesecake and jam.
The next week--last week--fared no better. In my 6YO Rooster's life alone, he scored his first soccer goal; in response to a whisper he should not be riding with training wheels, he found a wrench, removed the wheels, and began riding the bike around the neighborhood like he has been doing it his whole life; the next day he rode it down to the retention pond and caught a 6" fish with his bare hands.
Thursday and Friday both ended up as date nights. Very good for me as I have been pretty burned out on the 100% mothering, 100% of the time business. Saturday worked out as 4 back-to-back parties, more gift-preparation and talking than I could handle--almost. Along the way, one of our cars broke down, and is still in the shop. Still not sure if it's worth fixing.
Today marks Tuesday of the third week since the retreat, and I can't find ordinary anywhere I look. This morning I had to visit the county records office to secure a copy of my baby's birth certificate. This afternoon all three kids were scheduled for a dentist appointment, with big girl Miss Boo getting two teeth extracted at the end of it. What is it with me and scheduling multiple dental procedures in one day???
I am left wondering, what does it mean to live an ordinary life?
What if I accept that my ordinary can still wrap itself around a pretty colorful and interesting life? This means that instead of begrudging the seemingly random events that fill my days, sucking the same-old right out of me, I embrace the variety of tasks that each day brings. It does not mean I have to go looking for more adventure than I can handle; rather, that adventure rests right on my doorstep, waiting for me to step outside and join in.
After all, Peter and John were considered ordinary men, and they lived far from ordinary lives!
As a result, I acknowledge a new standard for my own ordinary. Today, I choose to believe that my ordinary life does not leave me bored, frantic with the repetitive nature of home-school, parenting, housework, and necessary life tasks. I can look for it, find it again with every sunrise, and embrace the wild variety of life.
"The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus."
What's your ordinary?