The Unexpected Joy of a Very Normal Life
#8 in Reflections of Life's Unexpected Joys
The Unexpected Joy of Living a Very Normal Life
My life is not terribly exciting. I can't see anyone requesting to write the story of my life and if on the off chance someone decided to do such a thing, I doubt very much that it would make the bestseller list. My life is not filled with travel to exotic places, adventures, or wonderful acts of service.
I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a neighbour. I do ordinary things like make meals, clean up meals, sweep the floor, clean the house, do laundry, read stories to my children, change diapers, get the mail, sort the mail, pay the bills, buy groceries etc. You get the picture. There is nothing spectacular about my life.
Occasionally this becomes painfully obvious. For example, it was recently Christmas, which is a wonderful time of year and it is so nice to see people that we haven't seen for some time. It is a time for gathering with siblings and family that we spend little time with because we are separated by such distances and lives of obligations in our corners of the country. As we gather we share news of what is going on in our lives. Some have travelled, some have plans of travel, some have had promotions, job changes, new skills acquired, new homes purchased or homes improved. Everyone seems to have something going on in their lives...except me.
This was a bit upsetting. Truthfully it was a little unnerving; it caused me to reflect on my life to determine if I really am boring, as I had come to suspect. However, as I reflected, I became increasingly happy with my life. My life is very normal, which is almost unheard of these days. My husband and I love each other. We are together after many years of marriage, and we are happy to be together. We live in a home that is neither grand, nor ramshackle. Within these walls there is togetherness, laughter, love, faith, learning and growing. Our lives are not stressful and frenzied; therefore our home is peaceful. There is warmth in our home from a blazing wood stove and from the depths of our hearts. Our home is a place of comfort and security. We can close the doors on the world and be comfortable with each other or we can open the door to friends and neighbours and share a meal or a cup of coffee and conversation.
We are not terribly wealthy, but we have the means to be generous and helpful to those in need. We believe in trying to live our lives simply in a culture that values and pursues materialism and instant gratification. We derive a great deal of pleasure from simple things like a day spent out of doors, fishing, swimming or hiking, a hot sauna followed by a plunge into a cold lake, gazing at the stars on a clear night, or sitting around a campfire with friends. We love attending church with others who share our faith, who love us and encourage us. All these things bring richness and beauty to my very normal life.
Many of these thoughts began to take root within me when I became friends with a very troubled young woman. Her life had not been like mine in any way. Prior to meeting her I would often focus on what others had that I didn't have. Then I met her. I was embarrassed by the richness of my life. I felt apologetic that my home was so nice, when I had previously felt embarrassed that it wasn't as great as the homes of others whom I know. I felt guilty that I had parents who loved me, cared for me and love me still, when her growing up years had been horrendous. I felt over blessed that I have a stable, fulfilling relationship with my husband, when her life has been a series of broken relationships. How I need to have a proper perspective. There is great joy in realizing what you have and being grateful and sharing your joy whenever possible. I hope that I was able to add some beauty and joy to her life. I hope that I was able to share some of the richness that I have been blessed with. I know that she gave me a wonderful gift by opening my eyes to all that I have even though it made me uncomfortable and caused me to feel regret for all the times I have envied those with more than me.
So while a "normal life" is not much of a conversation starter or anything to become famous for, I have to say that I am rather pleased with my normal life. Perhaps there will be some adventure in the future. I suppose I rather hope there will be, but I'm seeing that a life lived in contentment, joy, peace and faith is an adventure. These things are rare in our culture. What a gift to give our children. If they can grow up to value and pursue these qualities I will be well pleased.