More often than not, I’ll come to the end of a day and have a profound feeling of “WHERE DID MY DAY GO?” I look back and it seems I have nothing to show but a bunch of little spallter marks on the sidewalk of life.

My days are made up of soap bubbles of ordinariness that burst as easily as they are formed.

Soap bubble lives

A little hand slips into mine as we are walking. This hand won’t be little forever. A floating moment.

A person in the next car smiles at me and with a nod, a small connection is made.

I enjoy the smell of dinner cooking.

Do these moments amount to anything? A stranger in a car is what I recall as I reflect on my day? Really? Where are the “important” contributions? The impact? The passion infused living? I do love the ordinary, but often she’s sooooooo ordinary (duh!) I can miss her magic and mystery.

Want to know what I miss most about my dad? Yes, I appreciate the big gestures he and my mom made – the phone calls to China when they cost a million dollars, their visits to China, the endless road trips to Kansas the years I lived there. But when it comes down to it, I miss that he’ll never make another pancake breakfast. I miss he won’t tell me again on a summer morning I’m home from China, “Good morning gerbil!” when I am on the treadmill. I miss hearing him laugh at a joke.

The extraordinary, is often made on the back of ordinariness. If my dad hadn’t built into me in the small, the big would have been empty gestures.

Next month I am attending the wedding of a dear friend for whom I’m a bit of a mentor. I’ve been asked to read scripture at her wedding. As a middle-aged single childless woman, this is an unexpected honor.

Years ago, we were thrown into the deep end of our working relationship and while I can’t go into detail, I can say this much:  I stepped off the plane, returning to China and a new job and into a bit of an unexpected atomic sized mess. We weathered it, she and I, and the many ordinary moments afterwards – the work texts, the meetings, the time just spent together – step by ordinary step deepened and broadened our relationship. And now, I’ve been asked to read scripture at her wedding.

Soap bubble moment after soap bubble moment. Really, who gets excited about work meetings? Texts? Facing traffic? Answering the phone after a long day? Bickering children?

And it’s tempting to think that the REAL show in town are in the WOW moments, the big trips, the weddings.

Those are only WOW moments –and we need, them! Yes sireee, we need the wow too—but they are only wow because of the mystery and magic of the ordinary. The ordinary floating, bursting, bubbles of our lives.

When at the end of a day, a week, a month, a year, even a season of life I wonder What do I have to show? That very question may be a fool’s gold question. Instead, I’m trying to train myself to ask, Where was I present? What soap bubbles do I recall?

****

What soap bubble do you recall from this past week?

Linking with The Grove. Word prompt: ordinary

ordinary

Photo credit: Steffen Ramsaier via flickr

Leave A Comment

  1. Mike March 27, 2014 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    A teammate’s hand on my shoulder, a smile, and the words, “Here, Mike, this is for you.” as he hands me something quite ordinary, something that he didn’t have to hand me at all, but he chose to bless me instead.

    And the bubble is gone almost before I realized it was there.

    Thanks, Amy, for reminding me to enjoy the bubbles.

  2. morielle March 27, 2014 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Listened to a lecture last night on Ecclesiastes and heard the most interesting way to think about “Vanity of vanities”. The Hebrew word means “breath”. The speaker asked, “Is breath important?” Well, yes…. stop breathing and die. “Was that last breath you took important?” Well, no…. it lasted about a second, and the world would hardly had changed if I didn’t take it. The same goes for that meal I cooked last night, or the text I sent before bed, or the book I’m reading, or this morning’s conversation with my brother.

    I love this image of bubbles, it communicates the same kind of transience — but also the same beauty in transience. And I love how the way you wrote about your dad and your friend communicated that yes, sometimes the most intimate moments are the most ordinary.

    • Mark Allman March 28, 2014 at 11:21 am - Reply

      Morielle,
      It is amazing that we can not do without the ordinary of breathing for much more than 60 seconds.

  3. Danielle Wheeler March 28, 2014 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Got a big ol’ lump in my throat reading about missing your dad’s pancakes. My dad is also a pancake maker. It really is the little ordinary things. Love the soap bubble image.

  4. Suzan Hicks March 28, 2014 at 9:57 am - Reply

    I so needed this reminder of the importance of being present. As guesthouse managers, I get to watch other people be involved with the ‘wow’ moments of life in Haiti while we supply a place to live in the ordinary moments. What I enjoy the most is sometimes the hardest: just being present. I hear Sandra Bullock’s voice in “While You Were Sleeping” when she is talking to the guy about giving up his seat on the L. He protests that it isn’t important and doesn’t mean anything. Sandra says, “It was important to the one you gave your seat up for.” Thank you for reminding me of why we are here serving: to be present.

  5. Mark Allman March 28, 2014 at 11:14 am - Reply

    Amy,
    I do think the extraordinary is birthed by ordinary. I think over time that ordinary turns into extraordinary. Our memories that we have that we cherish are often just moments… ordinary cherished moments. Where does ordinary end and extraordinary begin? I don’t know. I suspect they are forever tied together. I pray that we don’t dismiss ordinary and miss something that is really meaningful and extra ordinary. Thank God for the mundane; the ordinary; the day to day for most of life is woven out of it.

  6. Lisa March 28, 2014 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    Every night I come home, drop my bags on the floor, ignore the over-excited dog, and sift through the (mostly) uninteresting pile of mail. But, yesterday I got your card, and my eyes filled up with big soap bubble tears. Thanks for sharing that little treasure of your dad with me.

    This morning I went out on a very long run and wanted to give a few soap bubbles away, but how? I know! I’ll give a classic Tom Young wave to every school bus that passes….there were more than a dozen! It was great.

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