Braving the Ordinary

We sat side by side in patio chairs on the lawn, my friend and I, not minding the vacation-length grass rubbing against our ankles. Our sweet kiddos ran back and forth across the yard, checking in occasionally. Warm sun filtered through the leaves, fruity sangria sparkled red in mason jars. Summer spread wide arms around the whole yard.

We talked life and babies-gone-toddlers-gone-school-age, and here and there, we talked words. She had just finished her second book, and I was lamenting my own lack of story. Lack of time. Lack of anything I felt was interesting enough to say.

Because sometimes it feels that way. I am happily caught here, in the American Midwest, a stay at home mom raising my babies and trying to pull zucchini from the garden without getting too many barbs in my hands. Every day is some version of routine. Eggs or cereal or toast for breakfast. Play. Easy lunch. Naps. Making through the long haul of the afternoon. Supper. Baths. Bedtime. Cleanup. Reset. Press start on the dishwasher.

It feels as familiar as summer sun imprinting warmth on my skin. I love it. And yet. Normalcy makes a boring story.

Or does it?

My friend disagreed, saying that the sacred thrives in everyday moments. The ones I often think are too normal, too boring to write about. But the more I thought about it, later folding miniature clothes and setting them in a half moon around me, I had to admit it. She was right.

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Perhaps there’s bravery in living our every day, scheduled out, routine moments. Bravery in holding hands, or pressing our foreheads together, making room for love in the middle of doing the dishes. Bravery in being willing to see double vision – ordinary and extraordinary – when tomatoes turn from flowers into fruit, or the baby who is no longer a baby says eeeeeeeessse as her chubby hands reach for the ice cubes in my water glass.

Miracles in the guise of routine. Seasons. Growth. I could brush them off so easily. After all, tomatoes grow every year. Babies learn to say words. Life is science, all reason and conclusion wrapped into sound bites that embed themselves in our brains.

But bravery says there is also meaning to be made of routine and habit and things that happen both inside and outside of our control.

Bravery says life may be simple and calm, but it is no less worth recording if that’s what it takes to make us hold it up to the light and see the pinpricks of Grace.

We simply have to be willing.

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