These Ordinary Days

Featured Image: “Winter Forest,” © Ya To (own work), Feb 2015. CC BY-NC 2.0. (license)

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

~ Socrates

On January 9th, a rather unremarkable Monday, the Catholic Church in the United States commemorated the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and with it came the official conclusion of the Christmas season. Though my local Barnes and Noble began selling pink and red heart-shaped boxes of chocolates on December 26th, I was still lighting pine-scented candles and singing “Joy to the World” all through the first week of the new year. However, after enjoying the full twelve days of Christmas (plus a few), I felt ready to let go of the carols and the holiday films on TV. The tips of the evergreen boughs twisted into a wreath on my front door were starting to turn a bit ochre. It was time to move on.

In past years, the post-holiday transition would trigger a period of depressed mood with fair reliability. Yet, as I swapped out the playlists that streamed in the background while my tea kettle came to a boil on January 10th, I didn’t feel a hint of melancholy. Was my readiness for change related to my more modest and restrained decorating? Without a tree or lights, the thought of putting away the detritus of Christmas past was not nearly so overwhelming. Did my willing mood reflect more realistic and less idealistic expectations for Christmas 2016? Whatever the reason, I felt acceptance and peace with the onward flow of time. I was ready for a fresh start to a new, less ornate season.

In the liturgical calendar, we are entering Ordinary Time. The feasts are over, the celebrations complete. It is the beginning of the longest season of the year. These days may not be illustrious or renowned, but they are arguably the most important. This is where we labor at life. It is when the gifts are packed away and the magi go home that the real work begins. Every day, we face innumerable choices, and how we respond to the circumstances of these ordinary times defines who we are and the world we live in. It is during the course of these ordinary days that our love and compassion matures… or it doesn’t. Our values are practiced… or they aren’t. It is in this ordinary time that we become what we repeatedly do. This is where we cultivate the simple joys of the everyday. It is where we learn to appreciate the beauty of the sublime. We either stop to notice… or we don’t. We train ourselves to count our daily gratitudes and graces… or not. It is imperfect. It is hard. It is complicated. It is delightful. It is boring. It is awe-inspiring. It is exhausting. It is perplexing. It is so many things, but one thing is certain. This is the time of growing.

And so, once more, it begins.

“There isn’t any such thing as an ordinary life.”

~ L.M. Montgomery, Emily Climbs

snow
Snow,” © Andy Walker (own work), Jan 2013. CC BY-ND 2.0. (license)
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13 thoughts on “These Ordinary Days

    1. Hi Jill! Thank you so much for stopping by and reading. I’m so grateful for your presence here. To be honest, I almost didn’t post this one. I am so glad that it spoke to you! Thanks again, and have a wonderful weekend.

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  1. You are such a talented writer, I’m glad I found your blog! And your post speaks to me in a comforting way as we end the Christmas season…over the past months I have been slowly finding my way back to my Catholic faith. You are right….now is the time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
    Jenn

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    1. Thank you, Jenn! I am so glad that I found your blog, as well. You are a source of so much inspiration and encouragement for me (even if you may not feel that way at times, know that it is true!) I am wishing you many extraordinary experiences in these ordinary days ahead.
      Lulu

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    1. Thank you, Laura! What a compliment! After a long absence and a great deal of writer’s block (and possibly, a dose of avoidance), I am renewing my introspective blogging efforts and trying to get back to authenticity. I am taking your comment to heart. Sending well wishes to you, my friend. xo

      Liked by 1 person

    1. If we always waited for something “extraordinary” to come along in order to experience joy, we would miss out on so much. Even when I am too distracted to notice joy in the moment, I love that I am able to reflect back and see all the magic that was present in the ordinary moments all along. Thanks for this!

      Liked by 2 people

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