Ordinary Time

I washed three loads of laundry today. Loaded the dishwasher, started it, unlocked it quickly to get a bottle, forgot to lock it back, and then Ryan came home and put dirty dishes in after me. 

I started the dishwasher again. 
In a fluke of divine, miraculous intervention I have a little girl who slept not one, but two- five hour stretches last night. We played all day. Baby Tad. Tummy time. Play mat. And read the book "Moo, Baa, La La La" seven times. 
She loves it when I quack like a duck. 
I watched World News with Charlie Gibson and then tried out a baby yoga DVD. I made it five minutes. She is heavy. And totally uninterested. And that downward facing dog thing is hard. 
We had stir-fry for dinner and I had a lean cuisine chicken wonton meal for lunch. I know, you are lusting. I was able to call three people back and two extra people that I just wanted to call for fun. And... yet again, I put off the 7o thank you cards that I have left to write (I have already written 200. Good problem, I know. Still, with each passing day that someone is in the dark about whether I received their gift or not, I feel horribly guilty) and I also put off the 136 e-mails that I need to respond to in my inbox. Slightly behind.  
It is 8:50 p.m. and I am chomping through a box of very bland Chips Ahoy cookies that I bought on the last band trip at a gas station in the middle of no-where Texas. And my little girl is laying beside me, wide eyed, as if she has been sleeping all day. Why isn't she tired? I hope this means she will sleep deeply tonight. 
In about thirty minutes I will brush my teeth with my purple, mushy toothbrush that must be replaced and I will sleep. (With my fingers and toes crossed. A new tradition of wishing good fortune upon myself that works much like a voodoo doll or spell. It's about as effective as a spell too... I've probably had twenty collective hours of sleep in two months. Still, I persist in my incantations).
Quite an ordinary day. 
Plain. Mundane. Ho-hum. Normal. Common. 
The church is in the middle of what the Liturgical calendar titles: Ordinary Time. Weeks throughout the year that do not fall during Advent, Christmas, Lent or Easter. 33 or 34 Sundays in all. Surprisingly, ordinary time is the longest season observed by the Christian church. 
Holidays. Holy weeks and seasons. Sacred days. These are rare, though our consumer-driven culture would like for us to base our entire years (and entire salaries) around celebrating these days. They, the holidays, are the exceptions to reality. They are overly dreaded or immensely anticipated. They are adorned with custom, and tied to memories. They are lofty and they ask us, as believers in God, to step out of the normal in order to experience the divine. They are both mystical and magical. They are ushered in by Mardi Gras, Lent, Christmas countdown calenders, and little candles at the front of our churches. They have a way of building us up.  As children they build up our imagination and excitement as we wait anxiously for that one special day.  As adults, some mixture of stress and hopefully holiness collide as we prepare and muddle our way through these holy seasons. 
And then, before we know it, it's gone. 
No more Easter baskets or eggs. No more out of town family or awkward gift exchanges. No more lame work parties or multiple days spent at church. Even the worship experience seems to dramatically climax and then dissipate into an unsettling ordinariness. 
Sometimes I find myself in shock. Almost angry. Now what do I do? I remember as a kid, the end of the "holidays" or "holy seasons" simply meant it was time to restart my countdown clock. As an adult there seems to be a season of disillusionment as I try to reacquaint myself with the real world. Perhaps I am experiencing some of that now as the implications of such a major life change are beginning to wear off and I am finding myself in a normal rhythm again. 
Once again I have to face the truth... 
our lives are lived mostly in the ordinary time. 
Ordinary time is where real life happens. Day in, day out. 
The Irish poet, Thomas Moore, had it right when he said:

In the midst of laundry, dishes, hours upon hours of playtime, and even in the shower... that's where I lived real life today. And though it was normal, though it was ho-hum, though it was average; it was the very essence of what makes up most of my existence, and probably most of yours. 

Little moments.

I guess sometimes it is tempting to believe that life happens in the big moments; the drama; the holidays and celebrations. No wonder there is a feeling of let-down each year when Christmas and New Years  and other big events have passed; I often live as if they are the pinnacle, the axis to which my year revolves. 

But I am reminded today that this is not the case. 

The sun hitting me in the eye this morning; Anniston's smile when I woke her up and plucked her little body out of bed; the text Ryan sent me to say he just really loves me; the call to my mom so she could sing her little heart out to her granddaughter; the e-mail from my amazing friend Kim with all her responses to my venting paragraphs in blue with smiley faces; the burdened moments of prayer for Bernie Maddoff  (the man who lost his life today because of his horrible decisions); the mourning of another friend lost to cancer; the piecing together of another important business card drown to death in the washer and dryer; asking God for mercy, mercy for those around me and in this hurting world; enjoying a perfect little vine of grapes with my lean cuisine t.v. dinner...

This is where I live real life. At home, in my pajamas. On the road living out of gas stations and hotels. Domesticity and simplicity. Stress and busy schedules. Church and family. Simple thoughts and random prayers. Love and heartache. Mundane and normal. 

Real life happens during ordinary time. 

The question is... do we see it? 

Am I simply waiting for the next big thing and missing the million little parts of each normal day that add up to something holy and beautiful? I don't want to. I don't want to miss real life waiting for big moments. I want to embrace the ordinary. The day in, day out. I want Ordinary Time to make up profound moments and memories on my journey. That is my hope for today. 

What is yours? 

"I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." -Laura Ingalls Wilder