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Make the Ordinary Come Alive

Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.
William Martin, Do not ask your children to strive

Sleet and freezing rain tap against the windows. It’s not a day to be outside in the elements, and yet I consider the consequences of a walk. We take the world as it comes to us, make of it what we can, celebrate the ordinary and find the magic where we may.

Celebrating ordinary isn’t what the world highlights. Everyone is hyper-focused on placing themselves in the most extraordinary places, doing the most extraordinary things, living their “best life” (whatever that means when you stop to think about it). Perhaps our focus should be on the moment at hand, wherever we might be.

I celebrate waking up this morning, hearing that tap, tap, tap of the rain and sleet and the roof over my head that makes it all seem so far away. I celebrate the conversations I’ve had with those I love, listening to how their day went, and celebrating with them the moments that made their ordinary more alive. I celebrate the quiet in an often chaotic world, removing myself from the noise but listening for the voice of those in need.

Life is infinite pleasure when you focus on the small joys. Life is more realized when we wrestle with our pain and loss and setbacks. Each moment informs, when we are taught to see. Learning to savor our ordinary vitality is the path to a magical life. A life worthy of our short dose of days.

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