Monday, December 27, 2010

ordinary joy

Reberb writing prompt of the day: Ordinary Joy. Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? (Author: Brené Brown)

I find this expression—“ordinary joy”—to be an apt summary of my life in 2010. I need look no further than this month’s collection of blog posts to see that I am more at peace with myself, with my situation, and with my setting than I have been in recent years. Not quite accepting, definitely not resigned, but able to find joy in the ordinary: a Tuesday trail run, an autumn afternoon at the park, an impromptu mountain bike ride.

I’m not sure that one moment stands out as the most ordinarily joyful (or joyfully ordinary), but here are a few highlights:

 Watching the kids “mountain bike” for the first time, and witnessing their unabashed elation as they negotiated rocks and roots on tiny tires.

 Pictionary Death Match with Bryan, Mom, Kaytie, and Alex. Laughing until my throat hurt and my eyes burned at the discovery, after 35 years, that when my uncle called his sisters “fey,” he was not implying that they were whimsical or fairlylike, but was actually a comparing them to a neighbor—“Faye”—who was, to use an Eastern Massachusetts term, “retahded.”

 Drinking tea with Bryan in the Adirondack chairs while the kids swung on the new tree swing.

 Doing the Tuesday crossword in the glow of the first woodstove fire of the season.

Essayist Susan Griffin writes that “the ordinary is of course never ordinary.” What a dazzling array of images lies behind these words. We tend to think of the ordinary as something to be met with dread, and our avoidance of the ordinary is linked, I believe, to our inability, or unwillingness, to slow down—something of which I have always been guilty.

Thanks, Brene Brown, for the gentle reminder that “ordinary” is not always colored in grey. Often, it appears in subtle but exquisite shades of saffron, or lavender, everyday Connecticut blue.

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