The Value of the Ordinary (Kathleen Norris)

sunrise.jpgKathleen Norris, in her book The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and "Women’s Work," writes about the importance of the daily tasks as "life supporting work."  These tasks do not define who we are as human beings but they do have an important place in shaping us spiritually.  The following is an excerpt:

The often heard lament, "I have so little time," gives the lie to the delusion that the daily is of little significance.  Everyone has exactly the same amount of time, the same twenty-four hours in which many a weary voice has uttered the gospel truth: "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Mt. 6:34, KJV).  But most of us, most of the time, take for granted what is closest to us and is most universal.  The daily round of sunrise and sunset, for example, that marks the coming and passing of each day, is no longer a symbol of human hopes, or of God’s majesty, but a grind, something we must grit our teeth to endure.  Our busy schedules, and even urban architecture, which all too often deprives us of a sense of the sky, has diminished our capacity to marvel with the psalmist in the passage of time as a creation:

 
It was God who made the great lights,

whose love endures forever;

the sun to rule in the day,

whose love endures forever;

the moon and stars in the night,

whose love endures forever.  (Ps. 136:7-9)

(Norris, pp. 16-17).


She goes on to speak of her sister, a single parent, mother of two who lives in Hawaii.  "Every morning, she must get up, help her children prepare for school, prepare herself for work, drive the family across the Koolau Mountains of Oahu into Honolulu, and go to her job as an office manager — officially the "administrator" — of a high-powered law firm." 

 
She then writes these important words, "As my sister has matured, accepting and growing into her responsibilities as a single mother, she has grown adept at recognizing and savoring the holy in the mundane circumstances of daily life.  Finding spiritual refreshment in unlikely places, she can offer nourishment to her children" (p. 18).

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