It’s finally quiet. It’s just a sliver of time to think, to write, to just be. To be more than my current roles of mother, homemaker, pastor’s wife. And so although the dirty floor and dirty dishes call loudly for my attention, I’m sitting down to write because, for me, a moment of quiet is like a salve for my weary soul. It’s here that I find out again who I am, why I’m doing what I’m doing and how to continue to pour myself out for those around me.
I’m living a rather ordinary life. I guess I never thought I would. Raised on a diet of “you can do anything!” growing up and with a culture and economy that promoted a sense of vocation as the highest means of personal fulfillment, I guess I never thought I’d have such a ordinary dailyness. I no longer walk foreign streets to sit down in lectures about literary theory. I no longer teach those lectures either. I do quite ordinary things like driving and feeding and caring for my four little ones, not thinking all the grand thoughts I thought I thought. Or living overseas (which I have done and thought I would do forever). Or even sitting in an office with “Dr. Hales” on the door (since I have a Ph.D.). None of that is right now. Right now is the endless monotony and hard work of relationships, of tying little people’s shoes, of making meals and trying to infuse a sense of holiness into the mundane tasks of life. Right now is spilled spaghetti and gunk on the floor, trying not to lose it when a child screams he hates me, the endless trips to the grocery store and these lovely gifts of quiet where it all makes sense.
Because here in this quiet, I’m just me. Me, with all the same hopes and dreams and yes, work to do, too.
I hope you’ll come with me on this journey this month — to seek and see beauty in the mundane. To reclaim the mundane as glory-filled. It was easy to see the beauty of Scotland with its Georgian architecture and rolling hills; it’s easy to see the beauty in a fulfilling job; but how can we see the beauty of the daily when we are so concerned about every teeny thing our kids put into their mouths? Is there HFCS/sugar/gluten/food dyes in what they’re eating? How can we appreciate beauty in the mundane when Pinterest is what tells us what a successful party looks like? When we’ve lost real connection with others because we shuttle our kids from activity to activity? Where we value our bodies because of how they look rather than what they do? When we feel like failures because we don’t measure up to some standard of perfection that we’re burdening ourselves with?
It’s time to stop. To listen. To savor moments of quiet, and a cup of hot coffee, and a good conversation. It’s time to notice the world around us even as you work through your agenda for tomorrow’s meeting or step in to referee fights. It’s time to put down the phone and realize that the number of “likes” or “shares” does not define us. It’s time to notice and care for people instead of fussing over your countertops or the deal you just brokered. Join with me to notice again the beauty in the mundane.
This is the first post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series will be linked to below.
Day 3 — Stories save us
Day 5 — Weekend link-up
Day 6 — The final letting go
Day 7 — The gift of quiet
Day 8 — Flowers
Day 10 — Choosing faith
Day 12 — Stories for your weekend
Day 14 — Bread and wine
Day 15 — Mama to littles, I got your back
Day 16 — Kale, kombucha and food guilt
Day 17 — In pictures: beauty in the mundane
Day 18 — The necklace
Day 19 — Stories for your weekend
Day 20 — Invisible women
Day 21 — Changing seasons
Day 22 — Do you want to run away too?
Day 25 — Home and daily presence
Day 26 — Stories for your weekend [10.26.14]
Day 27 — Life in and of the body
Day 28 — Thank you starts here
Day 29 — In pictures: beauty in the mundane