When my grandfather died six years ago, my dad gave the eulogy at his funeral. In a beautiful address, he shared details of Pop’s life – his upbringing, his faith and his family. Some of it I’d heard before but much of it was new to me.
My Dad then shared something with the friends and family gathered in the church. He said there was no fanfare about his Dad, no drama, no huge success story and no enormous wealth. Instead, he was a man who held his family close, loved a good story, and believed in the benefit of hard work. He was devoted to his wife and together they lived a life of goodness, simplicity, passion and faith. They were surrounded by friends who loved them, family who cherished them and a community who supported them.
“Dad lived an ordinary life. But he lived it in an extraordinary way.”
He had lived an ordinary life – family, work, friends – these were the cornerstones. But he was content. He was happy. He was kind. He was supportive. He was loving. He valued the simple things in life. And he was loved.
Ordinary is Not Boring or Weak.
We are so often told to go big, be bold, live larger, dream higher, be extraordinary… And that to be anything else is to be selling ourselves short.
But amidst the noise of advertising telling us we can break free of ordinariness if only we, “Buy that dress! Have that house! Take that holiday!” there is an argument for an ordinary life. A life of deep relationships and love, of giving to others, to your community. A life where you have the time and the energy to be fully present in the lives of your partner, your kids, your friends, your work.
There is value in a life lived quietly, full of contentment, love, play, friends and family.
What About Dreams? Goals? Aspirations?
Having dreams and goals – even extraordinary ones – isn’t counter to living an ordinary life.
Dreams are wonderful. Sparky and I dream of travelling with our kids, introducing them to the world, experiencing new people and places.
But before we can find happiness in living those dreams, we need to recognise that life is ordinary and to find happiness in that.
If you can’t find joy and contentment in your day-to-day, what makes you think you will be any happier living in the south of France? Or once you’ve run that marathon?
The day-to-day is just that – daily rhythms of work, family, friends, love, responsibility. And instead of constantly battling the ordinariness of those things, we can accept them and find happiness and contentment and joy in them. Because it is enough.
When we are content in our ordinary life, we free up so much energy to embrace opportunity, to be idle and to dream. And that’s when extraordinary things can happen – if you want them to.
What ordinary thing are you thankful for today? Let us know in the comments below – in fact, shout it from the rooftops! Because it is enough.