Monday, August 6, 2007

My Ordinary Life

I* came across a thought-provoking LDS essay on Friday and I’ve been thinking about it over the weekend.

The author, Lisa Rumsey Harris, provided me with two questions to ponder, questions that I’ve thought about before:

“Did everyone really have a story to tell?”

And, “Is there honor in the ordinary?”

She answers both of these with a hesitant, and then resounding, “Yes.” And as I’ve been thinking about it in a gospel perspective, I’m inclined to agree with her.

But, honestly, these two questions are ones that I’ve reflected on often in my life and have lead me to be very unhappy, at times, with where I am and what I’ve accomplished.

Would I want to tell my story?

I don’t know. I’ve often joked that my life is so mundane that my journal would consist of one entry with all subsequent pages stating “see page one.” And what I did over the weekend (i.e. nothing) only goes to support that.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know we all have moments when we look back over our lives and think “What if” or “If only.” And I also know that if that’s the only way we see ourselves, we’re only going to be disappointed and dissatisfied—and that makes it impossible to be happy.

But, it is hard when I think of where I thought I would be at 32 and what I thought I would be doing. Aside from still being alive, nothing else is what I’d imagined.

It’s hard to let go. And it’s disheartening to take stock of accomplishments and be able to do it on one hand.

Is there any honor in my ordinary life?

In the end, I have faith that there is (even though I don’t always see it).

I'm working on it, though.

So what about you? How do you find "honor in the ordinary?"**

*Disclaimer: I am not searching for pats on the back, or pep talks. It’s just something that I’ve always thought about and I just felt like putting it out there.

**You don't actually have to answer if you don't want to. It's more of just something to ponder.


Heather said...

I started to reply, but then it got really long, so I turned it into a blog...thanks for the idea!

Amanda said...

It is funny that you recently read that article and Heather and her family were discussing this topic and I was also thinking about this recently as well. I was IMing Bronwyn about helping a lady in my ward with genealogy. Well, you know how much I love it and that to me there is no chore involved, but pure enjoyment. Well, Bronwyn writes about how she wished that she could be more active in doing more genealogy or other things that I get doing. I was amazed that she would feel like that. When I look at her I always think that I wish I was more like her She is kind at heart in a way that I have never been. She is accomodating and selfless. It was that kind of feeling when Rachel and I say 'We're never going to be Nicola.' As friends we have an ability to appreciate the seemingly ordianary characteristics of those we interact with. We get a glimpse of their great characters and nature and admire that. I know that you weren't looking to be complimented, but you are one of those friends that I look at and admire for so many reasons. None of those reasons have anything to do with your accomplishments. The things that make ordinary people great, is their consistency at using their strengths. We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses. Our weaknesses become more apparent to us because we are with ourselves all the time. It is both a blessing and a curse at times that our strengths aren't quite so noticed. We feel humbled by our weaknesses, but that doesn't make us unimportant. Sorry this is so long. I see now why Heather started a blog! Love.

Liz W. said...

"The things that make ordinary people great, is their consistency at using their strengths."

I'm going to have to embroider this on a pillow (once I learn how to embroider, that is).

Very insightful,'ve given me a lot to contemplate.

Strengths and weaknesses is something that I've been studying for years. Maybe I'll post on it eventually.

Amanda said...

I hope you create that post. I always enjoy your ideas about things. I read that article and other on the byu magazine page after writing my post and I found that what seemed to be one of the thoughts was the struggle that LDS women feel about leaving a rewarding professional life to be a mother at home. For years I thought it was just the dream of all women and that no one struggled with it. I am finding it more and more common the more I talk to people. They are glad they are at home, but it is still a sacrifice because outside of your home there is no pat on the back or recognition. Sometimes there isn't even the recognition and appreciation at home and it is no wonder that some women end up feeling discouraged.

Liz said...

I think that the definition of ordinary is something that should be looked at carefully to peal away the subjectivity. If you have a collection of "extraordinary" it becomes the "ordinary". Like a music school for the gifted. Everyone can play the piano upside down... Sometimes a peaceful methodic life is the one thing someone would crave. I think that there is a beauty in the consistent that so often goes unchecked. There is character and courage behind it. So yes - I would say real honor comes with faithfulness and consistency and those things when looked at at a distance and over time might be observed as "ordinary" but what ever label its given, its beautiful to me.

Emily M. said...

Liz-- I love this response to "Honor in the Ordinary." We at Segullah are wondering if you would let us post it as a guest blog. If that would be all right, please contact me--emilymilner at utahweb dot com. I will be out of town for the next few days, so if you don't get a prompt response, that's why. Thank you!

Mz. Liz said...

Oh - Liz... You're famous. How exciting. :D

Liz W. said...

Liz, I love what you said about having a "collection of extraordinary" and how it becomes ordinary, then.

I completely agree with that! And I think it's something we do all the time.

Mz. Liz said...

I kind of stole it from The Incredibles. The whole concept of everyone having superpowers and stuff. The mom said "well everyone is special" and her little ADD bundle said "which means no one is". I found that kind of profound.