Making the Most of an Ordinary Day

Tomorrow, I will drive my parents to Arkansas.  We will go to Wilmar/Monticello, the southeastern part of the state where my mother grew up.  It has been years since I have been there.  But I look forward to going.  I have a lot of very good memories of going there as a child.  In particular, I enjoyed being there on Christmas. 


My grandparents lived in a white frame house on a two lane highway coming into Monticello.  They had a garden, a barn, a shed–all sorts of places where a city boy could explore.  I have wonderful memories of riding on the tractor with my grandpa.  At other times, he would take us to the woods.  He ran a lumber mill and seemed to know about every kind of tree.  I remember cold Decembers, riding in his pickup truck.  With the deaths of my grandparents, all of those memories seemed to come to an abrupt stop.


At the time, I did not realize that we were making important and significant memories.  I did not realize that one day I would look back and wistfully long to experience these moments again.  No–at the time I was just living.


Today, I suspect the same is happening.  Today I will just be living.  But–it could be that I will make some memories as well.  It could be that some of this "ordinary living" will actually turn out to be very significant.


As I think about today, I don’t want to be overly focused on the past or consumed by what will happen in my future life on this earth.  I do want to be very present in ordinary life.


As I think about the last few weeks, they have been ordinary in many ways.   That is, they are very similar to many other weeks:

  • Time spent in conversations with people about their children, their aging parents, sicknesses, etc.  I’ve talked in my office with a number of people.  On the telephone with a concerned parent.  A number of e-mails in which people expressed concerns and issues that were deeply personal
  • Time spent being with Charlotte.  Talking on the telephone with Christine, Phillip, and Jamie (my children and son-in-law).  Being with special friends.
  • Time spent mowing, weed-eating, dealing with loose insulation in the attic, and paying bills.


Ordinary stuff.

At the moment, I am sitting at my desk at home.  I am looking at a small clock on my desk.  The second hand sweeps around the face of the clock every 60 seconds.  At some point, the clock in my life will come to a halt.  Life on this earth will be over for me.  I know–we all know this.  Many of us just don’t think about it very much. 


How will I live in the meantime?  How will I deal with the ordinary moments of life?  Will I consciously live in the presence of God, even in the most mundane moments?  Will I be open to however God wishes to redeem the ordinary moments of my life?

Just thinking about this today…


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12 thoughts on “Making the Most of an Ordinary Day

  1. Awesome stuff Jim. I am so guilty of just plowing through and missing some of the most ordinary things. When I do notice them, even the ordinary things of life can be very exciting, beautiful and rewarding. I appreciate your value of the ordinary. Your intent to stay focused on what is relevant in all of your writings is very centering for me. Thank you.

  2. Jim – I enjoyed your blog today. If you look at it from your grandparents shoes, they probably had no idea they were having such an impact on you. I wonder what that says about those around us? I often wonder what memories my children will consider most prescious.

  3. Dad, This was a very insightful bolg. Time is such a valuable thing that I think we all take advantage of. We think we have an abundance of time to do all the things we want, when in reality each moment is a blessing and a reminder that we are alive. I know that I dont always spend my time wisely. I think that it is an issue of selfishness. I think God gives opportunities daily to serve him that we pass by in order to use our time in the way that we want to use it. Anyways, all I am really saying is that college has taught me that time is the most valuable thing in life. Without time, nothing can happen in mine/others lives. It has also taught me that living for myself is such a waste of time which reaps no rewards. When I use my time for things that I know are pleasing to God…I know that I am living for him and it gives me a sense of satisfaction in my life. Well enough of my ramblings….I love u. Sorry if my insights didnt make any sense.

  4. Sometimes, I stop everything and just take a moment to look full in my children’s eyes…

    talk about mundane…it is barely a moment, hardly a memory… but it’s amazingly powerful…

  5. Jamie,
    What a wonderful comment! Your comment is better than the post! I appreciate your insightfulness regarding selfishness. I think many of us relate to what you are saying.

    So good to hear from my wonderful daughter…