Learn to Treasure a Normal Day

end of hike, top of mountain, woman gazes at golden yellow, orange and pink sunrise with a few thin cloud wisps on the left

“Normal day let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you and hold you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in search of some rare and perfect tomorrow…for one day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.”

I first came across this quote by Mary Jean Irion years ago when my infant daughter was in and out of the hospital for life-saving surgeries. Practically living in the hospital for weeks at a time, I longed for normal days when I could walk outside for a breath of air, cook a meal, take a bath, sleep in my own bed, play with my daughter, spend time with my husband.

But in ordinary times we too often find ourselves bored with the routine of a normal day or overwhelmed with stress and hurry. We go through the day on autopilot, stretched to the limit by the demands of work, family, and home. When we finally have some downtime we are too exhausted to do more than veg out with TV or our favorite devices before falling in bed.

Our days feel more like an endless treadmill than a treasure.

A simple antidote is paying attention. Paying attention to what we are doing, thinking, feeling, to what is happening around us.

It is slowing down enough to observe the brilliant spring greens, the blue of the sky and the billowing white clouds as you drive to work. Or it may be tuning in with your senses to the invigorating feel of the water and the silkiness of the body wash in your morning shower. It’s as simple as noticing the multiple tastes, textures, and aromas of the salad you have for lunch. It’s as challenging as putting down your phone and really listening to your spouse or child as they tell you about their day.

In other words, it is being mindful of your life as you live it, using your senses to fully engage in the present moment. It is becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings as you experience the day.

A good way to begin making mindfulness a part of your life is to choose something that you do on a daily basis and make a conscious decision to pay attention and allow yourself to experience it fully. Repeat the practice for a week and then choose another activity to focus on. Eventually, you will develop the habit of mindfully doing some part of each day.

This practice can enhance the enjoyment of your days, increase your personal happiness and make you aware of the treasure of a normal day.

Note: For further reading on the topic check out Tish Harrison Warren’s delightful little book, “The Liturgy of the Ordinary.” With chapters titled, “Making the Bed.” “Losing Keys,” “Fighting with My Husband” she relates the experiences common to us all to faith and worship.

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