Linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum.
Head over to her blog to check out all the other Quick takes!
This is a follow-up to my last SQT regarding FoMO (Fear of Missing Out). We were discussing as a family all the many spin-off acronyms that can be used to describe our various fears and phobias. One which we all related to was PoO.. the Phobia of Ordinariness. Because who wants to be ordinary? Synonymous with various tones of beige, boring, stagnant, uninteresting. All the many connotations of ordinary. To me, the word summons up pictures of men in safari suits with bad comb-overs, like Barry Otto’s character in ‘Strictly Ballroom’. The epitome of stunted old age with unrealised dreams squashed and an invisibility which makes a person exist rather than thrive.
With this sort of opinion of ordinary life, it’s no wonder I have rallied long and hard against it. I have sought to live anything but an ordinary life, only to be thrust back again and again into this life which is very.. well, ordinary.
And what do I think now that time has tempered some of my misspent youthful zeal, seeking to be extraordinary out of a mistaken view of the word and world of the ordinary? I love ordinary in a way I never thought I would or could.
Ordinary life to me now… that is, life with my family in our home, all snuggled up together and cozy is something I cherish. As I was reflecting on this change, I was sent an article by Tyler Blanski and it articulated so perfectly this difference I must quote from it here:
What if the “drudgery” of housekeeping is not drudgery at all? For if we make husbandry and housewifery a drudgery, then we also make a drudgery of eating and living. We lose the conviviality of one person with other persons, of one member of the family with the whole family.
Another cause for hope and joy in the ordinariness of life is the fact that God has worked His most amazing wonders precisely through the ordinary.
Christmas is no better time to see an example of this. Two very obscure figures have a child in an obscure stable and that would be the end of the matter, except that God has sanctified ordinariness to such a degree that He chose to become an ordinary person. So very ordinary that when He did begin to do extraordinary miracles, those who knew Him were perplexed
Many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son… ?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. Mark 6:2-3
Interesting how Jesus submitted to living with ordinariness perhaps for the very time we live in now, where the ordinary, especially the home-based ordinary, is so derided. Those women who have chosen to stay home and care for their families can attest to this. And yet it is in the home where the great dramas of life happen, as G.K. Chesterton has pointed out.
“Most of the great dramas… were domestic dramas.” Source
Pope St John Paul 2 puts this beautifully:
The … lay faithful… live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very fabric of their existence is woven”. They are persons who live an ordinary life in the world: they study, they work, they form relationships as friends, professionals, members of society, cultures, etc. …Their condition [is] not simply an external and environmental framework, but.. a reality destined to find in Jesus Christ the fullness of its meaning. Indeed it leads to the affirmation that “the Word made flesh willed to share in human fellowship … He sanctified those human ties, especially family ones, from which social relationships arise, willingly submitting himself to the laws of his country. He chose to lead the life of an ordinary craftsman of his own time and place”. Christifidelis Laici, 15
And of course there is the great saint of ordinariness, St Therese of Lisieux, who lived a completely obscure life and yet became one of the greatest saints in modern times. If I was ever going to learn a new way of living with this Phobia of Ordinariness, then Therese is the one whose hand I would hold as I seek to find my way through the dark forest. She was famously quoted as doing “little things with great love.” And here is one of many pearls from her autobiography, Story of a Soul. This book, if you have not read it, will change your life. She says:
“I applied myself above all to practice quite hidden little acts of virtue; thus I liked to fold the mantles forgotten by the Sisters, and sought a thousand opportunities of rendering them service.” Story of A Soul, Chapter VII
So I would say that I have now learned to live much more comfortably with this Phobia of Ordinariness in my life.
Have a great week everyone!