Social media posts are filled with everyone’s BEST DAYS.
“I just went to Greece and met the love of my life!!!”
“My dog is lost and it’s been three days and I got her as a puppy when my mom died!” (teardrop emoji added for effect)
“We won the championship after an undefeated season!”
“Our house burned down and I can’t find my wedding pictures anywhere!”
“I climbed Half-Dome and survived!!”
Or the HORRENDOUS.
“Went to the ER last night after throwing up for three hours and they cannot figure out what is wrong with me!” (picture of ER IV drip underneath)
It feels like everyone lives in ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME.
It’s the epitome of hyperbole.
It’s hard not to get caught up in it, click on it, feel defeated by it and yet, at the same time, wish for it.
However, if our own lives are anything like everyone else’s, it’s just not true.
Of course, we do have days where life is unordinary (like the time when I woke up and it was my daughter’s wedding day or the evening my parents were called by the police because I was in the hospital from a bad car accident...I’m fine, by the way), but dare I say, most of our days are normal.
We get up, brush our teeth, get ready, do work, eat food, possibly exercise, spend a few minutes with our loved ones, have some screen time and go to bed.
Not too exciting.
Not social media worthy.
We can be tempted (and I so often am) to think these uneventful days are just a “gray stone” smack dab in the middle of the “sparkly jewels” of life, but more often they are hidden gems themselves.
It’s no wonder that a television show like The Office, a supposed documentary about an ordinary paper company in small-town America, was one of the most widely-viewed shows of all time. In our house, it was constantly on repeat and I believe my third-born has watched every single episode at least three or four times, his favorites several more. We secretly love the beauty of the ordinary.
Especially an ordinary day.
Because we know too well of the seasons that we are in a fierce battle and long for ONE.
[Perhaps a battle for a broken relationship to be restored, or a severe illness to be healed or a personal balance sheet to move into the black.]
And we remember too keenly the excruciating times of pain where we cry out for ONE.
[Perhaps the pain is overwhelming and exhausting and feels never-ending and oh so deafening.]
And there are times during our busy and frantic seasons where we dream of ONE.
[Perhaps the days run into each other without any kind of a break and it’s almost impossible to keep our heads above water. We are the rat on the treadmill going round and round, faster and faster, and not getting anywhere of consequence. Stress consumes us and we fall into bed at the end of each day depleted and almost numb.]
All we want is just ONE ordinary day.
It makes sense.
The regular, mundane sun-up to sun-downs are the calm in the middle of the crazy, the respite in the rush. We need them. They are precious (as the last two years of pandemic and political turmoil and social upheaval taught us in spades).
They are where lives are built, brick-by-brick. Days where we make in-the-moment choices to love another, do our work with integrity, show kindness to a stranger (or even those people we sit across from the table from), laugh until our bellies hurt, even nourish and strengthen our bodies. Brick by painstaking brick.
Think about it just for a minute.
It ISN’T the big family vacation where we learn to be compassionate.
IT’S the days we serve the overlooked week after week.
It ISN’T the huge shindigs we throw that show us what true generosity means.
IT’S when we pull our car over and buy lemonade from a child’s stand and watch their eyes sparkle or perhaps share our last piece of pizza with a hungry teenager sitting across the table from us.
It ISN’T the job promotion or the awards night that promotes integrity.
IT’S the way we do our taxes (I need to get on that very soon) and apologize when we are wrong.
It’s not the spectacular that forms us.
It’s the ordinary. The very beautiful ordinary.
As you well know, watching it unfold so quickly, the days turn into weeks.
The weeks add up to months and then years.
The years become a life.
A beautiful and precious life (our beautiful and precious life) is created from a long windy string of ordinary days (with some not-so-ordinary ones thrown in just for the BLEEP of it).
So ordinary Tuesday in the middle of Lent (and boy do I hope it’s an ordinary one for you and if it’s not, send me an email and I will stop what I’m doing to hold space for you), we don’t want to miss out on you.
We receive you as a good gift from our good God.
We love you.
We want to learn from you.
We soak you in.
We do not want to dismiss you in pursuit of an elusive tomorrow.
We choose to stay right here, right now, reveling in the beauty of you.
And lastly, we agree with Pam Halpert, as she closes out the very last episode of the very last season of The Office:
“There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?”
From my very ordinary heart to yours.
P.S. I'm sorry if that picture of the pizza made your mouth water. Same here.