Celebrating the Ordinary

Autumn foliage reflection on lake in rural Pennsylvania
Autumn foliage reflection on lake in rural Pennsylvania

I have a confession. I am the kind, like some of you, who lives from one adventure to the next. I look to these adventures as markers that add meaning to my life. Whether it is a World to the Wise cultural tour, celebrating a birth or birthday with my ever-growing family, or a weekend getaway, these mountaintop experiences keep me going.

But there is the flip side of this fact that deserves some serious attention: a friend of mine used to call it "farming the valleys". What happens on the ordinary days when there is nothing particularly special on the calendar, when it's just another day at the office? Is that cause for depression, lethargy, or negativity?

As I have mentioned before, I have found myself of late in the school of gratitude. As I commit myself to being thankful for the seemingly mundane aspects of my life, those reasons for gratitude seem to multiply exponentially. Take the fact that, since I work about half of my work week from home, on beautiful fall days I can take my laptop out to the back deck and savor the outdoors and the verdant neighborhood I live in. Or the fact that my wife and I live within less than 15 minutes from all three of our sons and our four grandchildren. (Who would have thought, given the fact that we have covered the planet between us!) The list of course goes on and on.

The Reformers talked a good deal about what they called "common grace," the fact that God's grace rests on all of us and enables us to acknowledge His goodness in all facets of life.

Yes, I still look forward to fall break in the North Carolina mountains. But in the meantime, I celebrate the ordinary as well. The word "mundane" comes from the Latin word for "world". And this world indeed has much to celebrate.