My mom sent this to me recently, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. The text is written below.
We live in a culture where ordinary is seen as boring and lazy. We try to make everyone feel special by giving out participation trophies. We pretend that we’re all extraordinary. But by definition we can’t all be extraordinary – that would make being extraordinary, well, ordinary.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with striving for ordinary. With finding the beauty in everyday things. With offering up your daily tasks, as mundane as they might seem, as part of God’s will in your life.
I once heard an interview with a doctor who treats burn victims. When asked who is the most important employee in the hospital where he works, he said the unexpected….the janitor. The janitor is the one who keeps the hospital rooms clean, and for burn victims who at extremely high risk for life-threatening infections, this could be the difference between life and death. I bet that the janitor doesn’t think about that when he puts on his uniform. His ordinary work isn’t nonsignificant at all.
You see, we all have a role to play in the world. As trivial as yours may seem, it does have an impact. We need people to be ordinary and do ordinary things. Without them nothing would get done.
Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them,
The extraordinary will take care of itself.
–William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents
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