Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Life Less Ordinary

"There are no ordinary people." ~CS Lewis, The Weight of Glory

This morning I had a plan with a friend to visit a neighborhood Barnes & Noble and let our (collectively) 5 children play amongst the books while we attempted some form of semi- adult conversation.

But our ordinary plan was foiled for an even more ordinary reason: the cable man, who was scheduled to knock on my friend’s door between 7:30 and 9:00 a.m., didn’t roll up until 9:15, making it impossible for us to transport our babbling brood to and from the bookstore before lunch…

So I hauled two babies and two baskets of laundry into the back of my car and headed to her house for a bit of playtime instead.

As I climbed into my car I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the window. Well aren’t you the picture of suburban domesticity!, I thought. And isn't it banal? It was middle morning on an empty street. I was wearing flip-flops, my hair pulled back in a ponytail… An image of utter ordinariness. I looked back at my girls. Evie was sleeping soundly after a long night of wakefulness while Audrey chattered some delightful nonsense about going in the big pool...and sliding down the big slide.

I considered that if someone ten years ago had presented me with a snapshot of just this moment – driving in the car in the bristling heat at 10 in the morning to a friend’s house, to fold laundry – I would have bristled myself. At that time, ordinariness, in any arena of life, was an absolute anathema to me. I’d have preferred any other adjective - even stinky, slimy, or sordid! - to describe my existence. But ordinary?! Faugh.

But now that I was on the inside of this very ‘ordinary’ picture – (and perhaps it took being on the inside)—I realized that you can’t determine the quality of something merely by observing its exterior.

Stereotypes, I defy you!

Regardless of how ordinary my life may appear, each moment is, in actuality, completely unique and original. Never before in the history of the world has there been an Audrey Sophia, or an Evangeline Grace, thrown together at this particular time, in this particular set of circumstances, with this particular Mommy … nor will there ever be again.

That is the joy – the thrill, even – of motherhood: being physically and emotionally present in both the monumental and mundane moments; and being (or attempting to be) the Mother they need. The challenge is to allow those moments, particularly the seemingly mundane ones, to be my ‘tutor,’ not just my children’s.

After all, isn’t that the real miracle – not just of motherhood, but of life in general? That God can use the ‘ordinary’ moments of our lives to teach us extraordinary things? The trick is, to let Him.

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