Ordinary Days : a letter to my future self

light behind the storm clouds
Dear You,
Remember that rainy September day?
The cloud-filled sky and the freedom
from the sun’s tyranny?
No need to finish up summer today.

You gave yourself permission
to bake bread and make
a long slow simmering stew,
pore over knitting patterns
and write a poem to the future you.

You wanted to write in longhand
(not that there’s anything wrong with Pages or Word
or an online thesaurus)
but a letter deserves a pen.
There was that old found notebook and
There was your old found self in the pages.

Gardens you have planted — elsewhere.
Prayers that have been answered — somewhere.
Wisps of words you loved — written there.
Lists of books to read that now,
here in the present future,
were read in the long ago past.

And there was that quote from Chesterton
about the best book he never wrote…
You’ve written yours.
Begun in one life, finished in another.
It changed and grew with you
as you changed and grew.
Mais plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

Blue sky behind gray clouds
Have you been grateful for your two lives—
three or four, really if it comes to that—
Have you been grateful for the sameness of those lives—
the sky, the stars, the seasons, the circles, the cycles?
for that sameness enables us to see
the unpredictable unexpecteds
the extraordinary exquisiteness
the glorious graces
of those ordinary days
that make unordinary lives.


Like every book I never wrote, it is by far the best book I have ever written.
–G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

the venerable stump

the stubborn old stump

at the roadside

has resisted removal.

It must have been

a fine, towering tree,

three feet through,

touching the sky…

Once…

i thought it

Unsightly

until it bloomed.

Beauty in old age cheers my heart.

  

133. No Time to…

So what happens when one finally gets settled into a routine at the cottage where one has spent three years preparing to live?

Life.

Yes. Life.

Yes. Life. Happens.

There’s a new job.

There’s a volunteer commitment one made before the new job happened.

There’s cooking to do, gardens to plant, flowers to grow, pillow covers to make, Bible to study, VBS to get ready for, neighbors to visit, friends to talk to, firewood to haul, and, yes, there are still boxes to unpack, files to organize and a room to paint. As well as the bathroom to gut and redo, and the back porch to finish.

And suddenly, there’s no time to write.

Ha, silly me. I thought perhaps after we moved here, I’d have spare time to finish that novel… Now I can’t even find time to write 500 words for a blog post.

It’s the rhythm of life. Suddenly there is much going on, but it is the routine of day-to-day, interspersed here and there with a gorgeous full moon, the bloom of a new starburst flower, the scent of peonies, a gentle sunrise.

But that is life, isn’t it? Making the most of those boring bits of life in-between the great, amazing stuff that, if we are honest, doesn’t really happen all that often.

It’s what we do with the routine and the interruptions to our routine that are important. Read this C.S. Lewis quote and put it on your fridge.

 Yes, the unremarkable, the humdrum, the commonplace — that’s the life God is sending us. And do we sing on the way to work, or grump about the trucks that are making us late?

Do we gripe about having to fix dinner on a day when we don’t get home until 6:00, or do we look into the fridge and make it a game with ourselves to come up with the best we can with what’s there?

Do we go to visit the neighbor when we really should be…  (insert really important thing to do here.)

I have to admit that I’m only good at loving the uneventful life sometimes. I try to remember that God has given us this ordinary life to live for him. He sees when we grumble at our husbands for no good reason except a mood; he knows when we choose to be in a funk, rather than pray; and best of all, He understands when we chafe against the boring bits of ho-hum pfhh that so much of life seems to be…
Bare hill
and he graciously gives us new eyes to see beauty in the familiar.