“And while it takes courage to achieve greatness, it takes more courage to find fulfillment in being ordinary. For the joys that last have little relationship to achievement, to standing one step higher on the victory platform. What is the adventure in being ordinary? It is daring to love just for the pleasure of giving it away. It is venturing to give new life and to nurture it to maturity. It is working hard for the pure joy of being tired at the end of the day. It is caring and sharing and giving and loving…” Marilyn Thomsen
Yesterday afternoon the heat permeated from the sidewalk. The cracks in the pavement appeared more pronounced and if you looked long enough you could see a kaleidoscope of different designs depending on the angle of your eye’s glare. It is summer in the desert which means temperatures reaching above 110 degrees and the heat performing a dance on your skin within moments of stepping out into the sun. At about 5:00 p.m. most people are taking refuge inside their homes, not wanting to test the limits of their heat tolerance.
But when you have a five year old clamoring at home, bored from the playing Memory, Candyland, and coloring, even the thought of a hot silver metal seat belts won’t dissuade you from venturing out when the peak of the sun is at its fullest glory. As my daughter slammed the door, I turned on the engine and backed out of the garage. Our task was simple. A few groceries to buy and some takeout on our way home for dinner. We completed both those tasks and then on our way home, I experienced a reminder about why I live this ordinary life.
As my car moved toward home, a bright red car, attempted to pull into my lane, almost hitting both my daughter and me. With instinct and anxiety in my stomach, I swerved my blue car away from his car and he finally noticed me and pulled back into his lane. The lingering feeling of Wow, that was close. I am so glad my daughter and I weren’t hurt kept racing through my head like a mantra. I asked my daughter if she felt ok and she responded with, “Yes, Momma, I am fine. That red car almost hit us Momma.”
It took me a minute to gather the churning inside of me and pause to reflect on what happened. If I hadn’t swerved my car, there was a distinct possibility that both my daughter and I might have suffered some injuries. In an instant, it can all change. Later, inside the comforts of our home, I thought about what I’ve told myself lately, particularly, this voice that says, “you aren’t really achieving. Your just living your life in the ordinary.” I am my hardest critic and recently I’ve experienced a restlessness that is trying to convince me that this ordinary life might not be enough.
The red car in the road in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon helped me realize that this life I am living is enough. Even though it is wholly ordinary, it is enough.
This ordinary life. The one where I wake up and kiss my husband and my daughter first thing in the morning. This ordinary life. The one where I can run every morning and enjoy sunrises that fill the sky with a layer cake of colors, of hues of pinks, purples, and blues. This ordinary life. Where I am with people who I love and who love me back. This ordinary life. Where I can read and write and share. This ordinary life. Where I can laugh, cry, hug, experience and live.
This ordinary life. This is where it is.
Have you experienced something that makes you appreciate the life that you are living? What are ordinary things that you enjoy?
Image by SFB579
Thank you so much for this. A reminder of how blessed I truly am!
Jill: Thanks for reading and commenting. I think we all need these reminders, even if they come from unexpected places.
There are all kinds of close calls, and wake up calls. They certainly do remind us of our good fortune – frankly – just to be in one piece, and to have our children safe and healthy.
That isn’t a given in the world. It isn’t a given in this country.
I’ve had my own share of close calls, the most frightening being when either of my children were involved. Glad for your awareness, and sorry you had that scare.
Thanks BLW. Close calls force you to acknowledge what you have and how quickly these gifts can evaporate. And, as always, you raise an important point. The idea that I can drive my car with complete freedom is a novelty in many places around the world.
Great observation. I witnessed something similar on my way to drop Toby off at day camp yesterday, when a car (with another camper) cut right in front of a semi. It was truly a close call, and I thought about it for a long time afterward.
It does leave quite an impression. After a period of reflection, I asked myself, how many close calls does it take to really appreciate what you have? I seems to always struggle with honoring the present.
This ordinary lifeis more than enough; we often fail to open our eyes wide enough to see it is.
So true Suzicate. Sometimes I think it is too late to realize it too. And that is sobering and sad.
I am relieved that you and your daughter are fine and you avoided this collison. This ordinary life is a blessing and we are so fortunate to share it with those we love. Thank you for the reminder.
Ayala: Thanks for your thoughts. It is a blessing. Everyday. When you can breathe, participate in life and enjoy the comforts of family and friends. Sometimes I think we lose sight of how good we have it.
With the craziness I’ve been going through, I loved reading this tonight. You are a beautiful soul. A truly beautiful soul.
Oh Jane. What a lovely compliment coming from you. I am honored.
I hope the turbulence in your life passes quickly and the upcoming days offer you some ordinary and comforting moments.
Thanks so much. xoxo
I love this, Rudri – the message and the way you presented it.
I’m so glad that you were able to reach your realization without anything bad happening to you or your daughter. Sometimes I wait until I’ve lost something before I realize how lucky I was for having had it in the first place.
I am also relieved that it wasn’t anything that required anything more than swerving out of my lane. Why does it takes a close call to learn to appreciate what we have? I think, write and blog about appreciating the ordinary, yet sometimes I lack the presence to really be grateful for all I have.
I have to tell you, this ordinary life in my ordinary house is getting to me a little. Summer with kids and long afternoons are making me antsy. I need companionship in this ordinary life. And while the blogging kind is wonderful, has made many a day more enjoyable and less lonely, I wish I had more of you like-minded moms in my neighborhood.
I wonder…do you think we’d all talk to each other if we passed in a library? Or would we never know who were missing?
Yes, Jana. I completely understand what you are talking about. For some reason, if we lived in the same town, I hope that we cross paths, have a cup of coffee and commiserate on life. At least I can hope, right? Love your response to my post. Thank you. xoxo
As we constantly struggle to integrate the opposites; grateful and ambitious; ordinary and extraordinary; joy and anguish; aliveness and flatness… I am left hoping, yearning, appreciating… that in our collective soup we do indeed contain the sacred, the scared, the profane and the potential for connected transcendence too.
Perhaps truly awakening, within the completely ordinary, is the most extraordinary of all. This post also makes me think of Katrina Kenison’s lovely spirit, encouraging us to find the blessings in every seemingly ordinary day.
Thanks for your enlightening comment. You always enter this space with so much grace and insight. And challenge me to think, really contemplate what I’ve written. I am grateful for this gift.
Glad you and your daughter avoided an accident, Rudri. And also glad that your reflective nature led you to a renewed appreciation for life. There is so much we have taken for granted and it is always good to remember how privileged we are.
Thanks Belinda. We are privileged. Some days I lose sight of this extraordinary blessing. Close calls, I believe, happen for a reason. A chance to reflect, to take a breath and really, truly understand that the life you are living is where you are meant to be.