(not) so ordinary

26 07 2010

Tall.  Gande.  Venti.  Super-size.  Grande Supremo.  Caf-Pow.  Ginormous.

Superlative is in.  Understatement is out.

American consumers have given up small for tall, and large for the latest compound maximum.

The Gong Show super-sized into American Idol.  The GMC Jimmy was upgraded to a leather interior SUV.  My 1-pound walkman has been dwarfed by a 1.28-ounce 16GB iPod nano.

Faster.  Bigger.  Better.  Smaller.  Newer.


My life is overly endowed with super-caffeinated over-the-tallest-top.  I don’t want more.  I want less.  More time to do nothing.  More opportunity to sit and wonder.  More ordinariness.

Dictionary.com defines ordinary as: commonplace, plain, customary, regular, usual, and simple.  In a word:  Ahhh.

The Middle English ordinarie literally meant: regular, of the usual order, and was used to delineate special readings from the ordinary daily parts of the Christian liturgy.

The ordinary was the unchangeable dependableness between festivals and celebrations.  The Valley Ahhh between the twin peaks Christmas Craziness and Mardi Gras.

While my life has lots of crazy high peaks accompanied by a fair amount of stress, in all but the extreme-crazies, the overwhelming majority of my days would be considered ordinary and business-as-usual.  An occasional GNO (Girls’ Night Out) and coffeehouse performance punctuate the vast fields of routine email, laundry, general conversation, and running errands.  Although the super-sized parts of life rise from the horizon overshadowing the common, ordinary Plains of Everyday in the Valley of Ahhh, the lowland makes up for its lack of altitude in square miles.

So, at the risk of talking in circles, I want to maximize the everyday moments.  Not super-size them.  Just value, and even revel in them instead of marking life by its peaks and living for the mountaintop high.  I won’t pretend that seeing each of my sons for the first time immediately after his birth compares to watching a common chickadee on the bird feeder outside my window or noticing the happy colors of a row of condos during a commute.  But I am making the case for embracing the usual, enjoying the little events, and savoring the moments embedded in the ordinariness of life.

I wonder.  Is this some of what is meant in Isaiah 40:4-5?

Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
and all mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. (NIV)




One response

30 08 2010

Cathy, I just read through your blogs and looked at your photos. I feel like I know you so much better now. Your work is very thoughtful. Thank you for sharing it with another ordinary girl.

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