I lead an ordinary life. I go to work. I take care of my home. I go to church. I have a few hobbies. I do a little community service. This weekend was a “typical weekend” for us. Saturday morning we slept late- 7am- did a few household chores and went downtown to get the mail and visit with our friends at Craighead’s for a few minutes. We drove to Colbert to look for a nursery someone had recommended. We went to Lowe’s in Durant and bought pansies and alyssum for the downtown flower bed. Then we had lunch at a local Mexican restaurant, did our weekly shopping at WalMart, went home to unload the groceries, then drove back to Caddo to plant the flowers. Back home to finish the laundry and housecleaning. Then back to Caddo to see King Kong at the REX II. This morning I taught Sunday School (substitute teacher) and sang a solo in church. We had lunch at home with our son, Robert, who was visiting from Fort Worth, then went downtown at 2pm to help with “Clean Sweep Sunday”, then home at 4pm to visit with Robert some more. I’ll finish some paper grading and a writing project before eating dinner, watching a little television and going to bed early. Sometimes we go to evening service at church, but tonight I’m too tired.
I share this minutia, that may seem exceedingly boring to some, because I am so incredibly grateful to have an ordinary life. Good friends, good times. A great marriage. An abiding faith in God. These are the things that get me through my days. I’m at a place in my life where I have a little harmony and I’m enjoying it! I write this with the hope that in future stressful times I’ll remember this time of peace. My grandmother used to remind me during a crisis, “this too shall pass”. Sometimes only the extreme highs and lows of our life are memorable. We forget the “ordinary days” that fortunately, joyfully come between the highs and lows.
I’ve had my share of highs and lows. I’m sure more lie ahead. But this past week I’ve been especially grateful for this quiet chapter of my life because of some events that have unfolded in the lives of my family and friends and co-workers. Several are struggling with health and family and financial problems. Maybe that’s all part of God’s plan. If we were all in stressful, painful phases of our lives at the same time, we wouldn’t be of any help to each other. While I’m calm and grateful and at peace I can be of service to others and give them sympathy and hope. When I’m in the middle of my own low times or even some of my joyous highs, I’m much more self-centered and less apt to think of others.
I think of others more than I used to. It’s fascinating to be fifty+ because I finally feel that I’m becoming the person God meant me to be. There were a lot of years when I felt I was living someone else’s life or at least living up to someone else’s expectations. Now I’m beginning, beginning, to feel comfortable enough with my own identity and my place in life to feel that I have something worth contributing to others. I remember when I was in the eighth grade I thought that the only worthy goal in life was to “be famous”. I’m not sure how I planned to be famous- I think it changed weekly- but I somehow had the idea that only people in the news made a contribution to the world. Now when I look back on my own life and the people who have made the greatest impact on me, I realize that not one of them was a “famous” person. They were just ordinary people, living ordinary lives, who cared enough about me to share their wisdom and their understanding and their joy. Now I want to be one of those ordinary people.
There are people in our church who are much older than I am. I’m sure many of them feel their lives are not only ordinary but boring. They see their time here coming to an end and perhaps feel they serve less purpose in our church or our community. They no longer have jobs. They aren’t active in community organizations. They don’t hold leadership positions. But I listen and I watch. They have a great love and concern for others. They know who is sick and hurting. They care. They understand. They visit. They pray. They help. And they bring joy to my life each and every Sunday. One of the older men in our church told me the song I sang this morning was one of his favorites. A woman thanked me and kissed my cheek. Another just smiled and patted my hand. I’m still like a little child in their presence, but I no longer seek their approval, I simply bask in their love. It’s a wonderful feeling. I’m not sure a famous person would have the time or energy to understand. An ordinary life can be such a blessing! I thank God for mine.