I read a book by that title a few years ago, The Gift of An Ordinary Day. The book itself was only so-so, but the title has remained with me. I supposed that title, that idea, started coming more frequently a couple of months ago when I began listening to a podcast about people enduring difficult trials. One of the common themes of this podcast is the fact that for many people life is going along just fine and then bam! tragedy strikes. Unexpected illness, an accident, death, violence of some sort, etc. And while I can't remember which person from which story said it, one woman said, Before [this tragic event] we were so happy, but we just didn't realize it.
It occurred to me that sometimes I don't realize how happy I actually am. Getting too caught up in the little annoyances of life or just the monotonous routine can cloud the realization that my life is really quite amazing.
The gift of an ordinary day.
We've all had those periods in our life where it seemed like the world was ending--and maybe it really was--yet for so many people it was life as usual and we would give anything to be worrying about mundane things like what to make for dinner and that never ending pile of laundry. And then we forget. Not that I think we should only appreciate the simple and easy periods of life because you never know or it could always be worse. To only appreciate something because the alternative is worse, robs that person/event/situation of the inherent beauty it possesses simply because it is. I don't love my life because it could always be worse, I love my life because it is beautiful and amazing, with and without the bad.
Of course now I'm in a bit of a contradiction because of my initial realization had to do with that very comparison... but there you have it. I will say, I do believe you can have beauty, love and joy even in the midst of unwanted tragedy and heartache as well... so there's that.
Anyway, the point is lately my life has felt very ordinary, in the very best way. Staying home with Lamp to play on a Friday morning. The family gathered on our bed talking, being silly, together. Parent/teacher conferences while PSP reads to Lamp at her desk. Delicious fall recipes even though it's still in the low 90's. Even back to back weekends with PSP face planting it pretty bad--one actually chipping her permanent front tooth--still falls in the realm of manageable ordinariness. I'll take it. I'll take it all.
I certainly don't have it all figured out, but I think one of the secrets to a happy life is gratitude. Giving thanks in all things. In my experience gratitude actually changes the heart and helps you see things anew. These ordinary days really are a gift. Not just because they lack tragedy, but because they're filled with beauty.
The gift of an ordinary day.
Sappy? Cheesy? Yes and yes.