I was reminded this week how hard it is to get back to the ordinary routines of my life such as keeping house, homeschooling, managing children’s time, and ordinary business. Even the most “free” people in life have somewhat of an ordinary routine. Life seems to go so much better when we have certain times for certain tasks and I believe we all feel our best when we have tended to our responsibilities; I am not at all sure why I rebel against it.
Maybe we all want to do something extraordinary and the ordinary seems so mundane and insignificant. I know that this is absolutely NOT true; for in the ordinary is usually where the extraordinary takes place.
My children and I always work best when we know what to expect out of the day. Just knowing the plan takes the guesswork out of our daily activity. This frees up more thinking energy to get more done.
If you really look at it, during the ordinary daily routines of chores and school is when amazing things really happen – A young child discovers a new tree during a routine outdoor hike that they have never seen and that sparks an interest in studying all native plants which leads to a career path you could never have imagined. You learn a lesson that takes you through many tough times. You get a vision of a purpose that you want to fulfill.
Oftentimes, things seem so ordinary that we don’t even know how extraordinary they truly are until they are a memory.
In Edith Schaffer’s book, Labri, Edith so eloquently describes what I have felt, “No trumpets don’t blow in life…as they would if we were putting on a play with sound effects. But we hear the faint echo in memory as we look back…when major lessons are learned or you meet the person that will change the direction of your life…there is no music, no rolling drums, nothing to see or hear…the moment becomes a memory before you even know that the moment was monumental!
These moments come in the middle of ordinary life.
As I work with the children during the day teaching them how to read and write, giving hard assignments that challenge them just a little more than what they think they can do, I learn how to deal with challenges that are a little harder than what I think that I can do. It amazes me what comes out of my mouth to them and I am taught the same lessons.
One of the most amazing things that I learned in this way occurred many years ago when my oldest boys were just three and five. My five-year old was drawing with chalk on the concrete on the back porch. He refused to share any of his space with his brother. I thought about the situation and wanted to handle it with wisdom. I could have made the oldest son share, but that would not have really taught a life lesson.
I stopped, prayed silently while watching the boys and then it came to me to give every other area of pavement to the other son. I told the oldest to claim his property. Once he finished drawing a HUGE circle around his property, I asked him if he was satisfied. He said he was. At that time I gave the front driveway and the carport to the other son. I made a restriction that the eldest could only use what he had claimed. I have not had that problem anymore with the oldest son.
The interesting thing was that an extraordinary lesson for myself took place in the ordinary training of my children. At that time I felt that Scott and I had “been taken” by a big wig in the town (I have found in later years that we weren’t the only ones). He had promised us something and did not deliver on his promise. I wanted my money back. During my lesson to the kids, I realized that the money he had received ( a lot) would be all that he would be receiving, but that by my letting go of that I was going to get more than I could imagine. I knew right then during this ordinary event that the lesson had been for me.
I have often come up with ideas for books, blogs, videos, projects, etc. during the ordinary events of everyday life.
If I am having a hard time making a decision, one of my friends knows to tell me, “Have you been on your infamous walk yet.” I seem to hear better when I walk – another ordinary detail of my life. I call it my walk with Jesus time. I pray and things seem clearer…well most of the time anyway.
I have watched the creativity that comes to my children during the ordinary quiet school time that I have created for them. This is very ordinary, but extraordinary things come from this time. If they finish their task at hand, they can do as they please until I am able to check their work. Graylyn has memorized myriads of chapters from scripture during this time. She has also carved out time for scripture memory the last few minutes of the day before she goes to bed. If this is not extraordinary out of the ordinary, I don’t know what is.
As we tend to the garden, just an ordinary chore, we see things that may make life easier for gardeners. Many, many inventions are talked about over dinner during the harvest season. Some of these ideas stemming from the very ordinary may change the course of our lives through a very useful invention and may eventually help others too.
On a larger scale, I often look at the life of David. He was an ordinary young man doing his daily duties while unknowingly training for the extraordinary to happen. Each day was a training day that led up to his being a wise warrior and mighty king.
He was prepared by his ordinary duties: “Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock. And I went out after him, and smote him and delivered it out of his mouth and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and smote him, and slew him.” (1 Samuel 17:34) The confidence that David had when he slew the Philistine, Goliath, could only have been obtained through the training found in fulfilling his daily duties of keeping his father’s sheep safe and in his trust in the Lord gained during those times.
In 1 Samuel 16, Samuel, the prophet, was looking for the next king of Israel. He knew that the king would come from the house of Jesse, but was confused in that none of the 7 sons he had seen seemed the right choice for king. “And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children?” and he said, “There remaineth yet the youngest, and behold, he keepeth the sheep…Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren…”
In both instances, the training for the future blessings and in the discovery of his future blessings happened while he was doing the ordinary duties during ordinary life.
It always brings me contentment to know that while I am working away and no one can see my work, I am preparing others and am being prepared for greater things ahead. I soak up every moment because this could be the moment when drums should be rolling!
Keep on Keepin’ on! Remember the Extraordinary happens during the Ordinary!!