A few years ago, a girlfriend called to tell me that she had just heard the most wonderful sermon at church. It was an usual phone call, because church, religion, prayer, they weren't part of our normal conversations, but she was so taken by the priest's words that day, she just had to share. Apparently, the big news was that every ordinary day was truly an extraordinary day.
Thanks for sharing.
I had laundry to do, kids to feed, beds to make and a grocery store to get to. Frankly, ordinary didn't sound all that extraordinary to me. I wasn't missing her point, I was into the whole thankful movement. I had a gratitude journal. I got it. It's just that I'd been immersed in a decade of ordinary, and all of its mundane glory, and frankly, I wasn't all that impressed.
I was living it every day.
And then I wasn't.
I believe the miscarriage came first, fourteen of the best and worst weeks of my life. The deadening depression lifted just in time for the breast biopsy - negative thank goodness, but with a strong history of breast cancer in the family, it was a terrifying time nonetheless. I came up for air right before Mother's day. We were having a delightful celebration at my house, when my mother passed out in the driveway and broke her hip. That was the beginning of her slow descent into Parkinson's.
After many falls, daily phone calls that she was hurt and too many ambulance trips to count, we decided that my mom could no longer live on her own. She would move in with my sister, who lived around the block from me, she and her husband had extra space. It was settled and construction began to make the house more suitable for my mother's rapidly declining health.
She moved in right after Christmas, just as my sister was diagnosed with cancer. It was decided that my mother should be moved again, perhaps in with my other sister, also an empty nester. The ink was almost dry on the contract when my brother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. Not one, but two separate kinds.
Every single day the phone rang with some other catastrophe. Who was in the hospital today, what time was the surgery, what is the prognosis? It was overwhelming, frightening, stressful and I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Routine shopping trips, playdates with the kids and family vacations were constantly interrupted due to some emergency. The telephone became the harbinger of awful news and there was nowhere to hide.
Suddenly, my life was anything but ordinary.
It was during a quiet evening, the end of a day when nothing horrible had happened, that my friend's words suddenly came rushing back into my head. In a crystal clear instant, I fully understood the depth of the expression and the magnitude of her excitement that day.
I craved ordinary so badly, I actually ached.
I wanted boring family dinners, pizza or hot dogs, I didn't care, as long as we were all present and healthy. I wanted to fight about homework at the kitchen table and yell at my husband for leaving his size eleven shoes at the back door. I wanted to get aggravated about my cable bill and disgusted by the cat puke on the kitchen floor. I wanted to listen to loud music because there was a great song on the radio and not because I needed to block the barrage of terrifying thoughts out of my head.
I wanted those plain old, routine, monotonous, run-of-the-mill days back. Perhaps, I've romanticized them, in my head, but I don' think so. They were generally carefree and glorious. I just didn't appreciate them as such.
Today, my sister and brother-in-law are cancer free and making their way. My mother, well, she is end stage Parkinson's, living with my sainted sister around the corner from me. The ringing phone still makes me jump and my daily shopping or lunch trips with my mom have now become daily prayer sessions at her bedside.
In between visits, I spend my day doing laundry, feeding kids, making beds and going grocery shopping.
It's all very ordinary.
And yet completely extraordinary.
Are you days extraordinarily ordinary?
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