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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Loving Ordinary Life With All Its Drudgery

We hate the ordinariness of life, most of us.  In a narcissistic mood, it can seem an insult that we can’t be famous, or ‘successful,’ or filthy rich.  It might sound like an overstatement but that is basically the way we see things a lot of the time, is it not?  We want the easy life that is full of contentment and any possession we’d care to own... long life, good name or “fame,” and prosperity.
Ironically, there are not many people that actually believe this sort of ‘dream’ life is possible.  Most people are realistic enough to know this.  Yet, we strive for more.  We’re typically discontent with our lot.
I’ve commented on Avril Lavigne’s songs before.  Her song Anything But Ordinary, off the hit album “Let Go,” says so much about the frustration of life, and the anguish and torment, not to mention the boredom of it, we deal with under the surface in everyday life:
Is it enough to love?
Is it enough to breath?
Somebody rip my heart out
And leave me here to bleed
Is it enough to die?
Somebody save my life
I'd rather be anything but ordinary please.
To walk within the lines
Would make my life so boring
I want to know that I
Have been to the extreme
So knock me off my feet
Come on now give it to me
Anything to make me feel alive.
It’s a statement of discontent.  Its problem is life itself.  Is life “enough?”  Is it enough to experience the absolute pinnacle of life i.e. love?  Is it enough to go through life simply breathing, or ‘complying’ with life’s demands and rules – is it good enough?  Ordinary things, and even extraordinary things, like love, don’t seem enough at times.  Is it enough to die; rather be dead than ordinary?  Please?  What about ‘extremes.’  Some people, and particularly the young, need to go to the extremes to ‘taste’ life, the life that’s not so boring; to break up the tedium.
There has to be more to life, surely!  There has to be something to put our hope in; something more to stimulate us.  There must be some rational and real purpose to it all.  And there is.  It’s right under our nose and so very obvious, yet we don’t see it because it doesn’t appear interesting enough.
I’m suggesting that the ordinary life; my plain and ordinary life, is so uniquely special, just being alive and thinking about all the possibilities is on its own, simply breathtaking.  The fact that I am ‘here’ typing this article, communicating to you, and able to speak to myself and think and create, is simply marvellous.  And you are where you are at, living something so incredibly different to me; our experience of life is so very unique and mysterious to each other. I can’t imagine what it’s like to think and feel quite like you, but the thought is alluring.
We live at the very cusp of time: the present.  We have the power to create history; in fact, whether we like it or not, that is exactly what we are doing in the present.  We are history-makers; it’s our most inherent purpose; we cannot stop writing a story that is our life.
Oswald Chambers says, “Drudgery is the touchstone of character... There are times when there is no... thrill, but just the daily round, the common task....  Do not expect God always to give you His thrilling minutes, but learn to live in the domain of drudgery by the power of God.”[1]
Drudgery is not a very exciting word; in fact, it is quite ghastly.  The point is you and your life: it is a gift from God.  He gives it to you so you can discover your life purpose, something each one of us has to discover for his or her own.  That purpose will drive us through life giving us power to create loving relationships so we can leave our legacy on life. 
·        What was it you wanted said at your funeral? 
·        What sort of person were you?
·        What do your family and co-workers and friends say of you?
You can have any ordinary life you want.  You may as well; you’ll be stuck doing it forty hours a week for most of the rest of your life, so you might as well enjoy it!  I can honestly say I’ve not had “Mondayitis” for most the past twenty-plus years, which equates to 80 percent of my work life.  I love work, and I also love rest.  What about you?  Do you look forward to your life... your work... time with your family... time to rest and refresh yourself?
Life is drudgery most of the time, so get over it and start living it.  Be present one moment at a time.  Things will change gradually.  You’ll begin to love what you have.
Loving what we have is loving who we are, which is loving our ordinary life for just what it is: a gift.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

[1] Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1935), 167, June 15 entry, cited in Ellen Vaughn's Radical Gratitude: Discovering Joy Through Everyday Thankfulness, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005), p. 173.

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