In recent months I’ve read a fair number of blog posts extolling the beauty in ordinary moments. I’ve written a few posts in the last couple of years along those lines myself. But I’ve been finding that, in my own life, ordinary moments often don’t feel special and sometimes I struggle to find loveliness in the mundane goings on of life.
Cystic Fibrosis is not a lovely disease (what disease is?!). My daily physiotherapy is distinctly unlovely as I have to clear out whatever mucus there is in my lungs. My posture exercises are to stop me from becoming even more of a hunchback than I am already. And you should see my purple face after a violent coughing fit! Those are not moments to pin on my Pinterest board. No filter is going to make those into Instagrammable pictures.
Let me make myself clear. I wholeheartedly approve and applaud the attitude behind the ‘ordinary is beautiful’ movement. I’m a card carrying member of that community. There is nothing inherently wrong with blog posts, Instagram accounts and Pinterest boards filled with gorgeous images of simple things and descriptions of ordinary moments. But personally I find that those beautifully arranged vignettes and eloquent word pictures can make me forget something very important: Ordinary is allowed to be just ordinary. Yet in my pursuit to celebrate the ordinary, I sometimes fall into the trap of not actually celebrating the ordinary but celebrating the edited version of ordinary that I’m comfortable with sharing on Facebook.
The beauty in the mundane is very real. I can vouch for that. It’s found in accepting a calling that won’t make you wealthy or famous. It’s found in being genuinely thankful for your day’s food, whether it looks good through a camera lens or not. It’s found in knowing that there is a God who has planned your life such that where you are right now (be it awake in the middle of the night, clearing up after your children yet again, in a hospital room, all alone somewhere etc) is the absolute, number one, best place for you to be. But when I feel inadequate because ‘her’ mundane seems so much more beautiful than mine, I’ve missed the point of it all.
It’s a simple task to love the lovely but maybe your ordinary seems just a bit too, well, ordinary. That’s ok. Put down the camera and stop looking for the short term, little picture beauty. You might have to look at this ordinary moment in a long term, big picture way. You might not see the beauty until you look back from the New Creation. That’s ok. Sometimes we have to learn to let the ordinary be ordinary.