Magic in the Ordinary

From my perch on Momma’s bed, I can see the outside bush beginning to blossom. The small, pink buds collect raindrops, and I feel sorry for it almost. It will undoubtedly freeze once more before Spring truly greets us. All is still in the house, and I am reminded of those slow, still, sleepy mornings with my peapods. Nannying them was such true joy—watching them grow slowly day-by-day. In those morning naps, I’d often sit as I am today—reflecting upon all the good and gracious gifts I’ve been given. Reflecting upon what steps I was supposed to take next.

After I graduated college, I almost moved to Denver. Rachel, red hair flying in the midnight wind, would talk to me about it as we’d sneak into the reading room to meet our pals for study sessions. I’m not sure any studying got done, but we’d sprawl out on the floor with textbooks and paper and pens. And then the talking would happen. Those are such fond memories for me—Phillip, Jared, Aaron, Rachel, and me—brothers and sisters—sitting around dreaming about what life down the road would look like. I spent hours looking for jobs, chatting with relatives in Colorado, and thinking about finances. In the end, Rachel moved to Colorado for a year, and I decided I should stay in Mount Juliet. At one point, I regretted it, for I knew I would have loved every second of it. But then, on mornings like today, I realize that I would not trade the last 730 seemingly ordinary and uneventful days for a million Colorado sunsets or mountain hikes. I’ve written before about what I think true adventure is—how it’s more than distant travels and awesome skies and making new friends in far off places. How sometimes it is simply standing still.

Those things are worth chasing after. I hope I always continue to chase after them. My spirit is wild and free. But my biggest adventure always takes place when I am focused on the people around me. And this weekend, I’ve was able to live that adventure out. It is the most elating emotion—to truly grow up with another individual and then get to witness them committing themselves to another human being. Somehow, time passes and you go from being children who make believe grown up life to actually being grown men and women. Together, we went from playing with baby dolls, dressing up, and goofing off at soccer practice to standing there under the lights of the chandelier, watching as Molly Lane pledged herself to dear Joshua.

As I stood there, all I could remember were those ordinary days. The days I walked from math tutoring down the street to her home. We would lie on the roof in swimsuits and do our homework. JoJo was our jam. I remembered the days where we undercooked the pizza and had to throw it out or the days we decided it would be an awesome idea to eat fried chicken and ice-cream before a soccer game. Ordinary days are the things we remember. L.M. Montgomery compares them to pearls slipping off a string. They fall off softy. They don’t overwhelm us in the moment, but they are the moments to be truly cherished in the end. Despite all this, my spirit struggles to find contentment with the day to day.

Discontentment is a poisonous vine that grows and winds its way around our hearts. And it is discontentment that causes us to wish for circumstances other than the ones we have. It causes me to look around me and wish for the extraordinary. The life changing. The remarkable journey, trip, or experience. And in being discontent, my eyes become closed to the remarkable, ordinary life changing moments going on all around me.

And without the day to day, what is life? I’m so thankful that last night I could remember more than the championship wins or the proms or the school trips. I’m glad I could remember the lazy afternoons and the walks in the sunshine. The giggles over boys. The deep and persistent prayers in the living room. The tears and the smiles.

My ordinary day-to-day existence is extraordinary. And I want to always strive to find contentment in that. Because I really have been given so much for which to give thanks.

So, years down the road, when I think of the day Molly got married, I will most definitely remember the tears that fell when she walked down the aisle. I will remember how lovely she looked and they way they praised their father for their union. But I will also remember simpler days. I will remember the evenings spent making decorations. The trips to vintage dress shops. The morning after, waking up to a house full of chaos and happy memories. I’ll remember it all, because these things—all of these things—are magical.

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