As life continues to grow more complicated, I continue to feel more and more gratitude for the simple things. Gratitude for a “normal day” amidst the hubbub the minutia that tends to take up so much space.

A “Normal” Evening

There was a night a couple weeks ago where Dave, Lu and I were all home. This is more irregular than you would think with only one child at home. And one who isn’t involved in sports galore.

But there we were, the three of us without our phones or distractions on a weekend evening. Dave and Lu played some chess.

Dave and Lucy playing chess on a normal day

Lu and I rode the tandem to Panda Express and a quick stop at the grocery store, Bo bounding happily beside us under the orange sunsetty sky.

And then we settled in to bake pumpkin cookies (a new recipe I’ll share soon) and pop some popcorn.

Lucy popping popcorn and baking cookies on a normal day.

A decision to watch Survivor together to catch up with the Provo kids and all the cousins up there who gather to watch every Wednesday evening.

As Lu and I worked together in the kitchen, Dave turned on some 80s love songs. And the spirit of love settled in, as love tends to do when we are focused on the present.

And I looked around and thanked God for this precious “normal day.” A moment in time that is so easy to take for granted.

Because it’s so regular.

It’s not glamorous or fancy.

It’s so easy to cherish the fancy and the glamorous. But the “ordinary rock” of a “normal day”? Sometimes I need to be reminded to relish those like a rare jewel.

My sister Saydi introduced me to this beautiful poem a few years ago:

Normal Day

“A normal day! Holding it in my hand this one last moment,
I have come to see it as more than an ordinary rock,
it is a gem, a jewel.
In time of war, in peril of death, people have dug their hands and faces into the earth
and remembered this.
In time of sickness and pain, people have buried their faces in pillows
and wept for this.
In time of loneliness and separation, people have stretched themselves taut
and waited for this.
In time of hunger, homelessness, and wants, people have raised bony hands to the skies
and stayed alive for this.

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.
Let me learn from you, love you, savor you, bless you before you depart.
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
Let me hold you while I may, for it will not always be so.
One day I shall dig my nails into the earth
or bury my face in the pillow,
or stretch myself taut,
or raise my hands to the sky,
and want more than all the world your return.

And then I will know what now I am guessing: that you are,
indeed, a common rock and not a jewel,
but that a common rock
made of the very mass substance of the earth
in all its strength and plenty puts a gem to shame.”

Mary Jean Irion

May we remember that the “normal day” can be a rare jewel

Oh! How I love thinking of the normal day as “a common rock made of the very mass substance…that puts a gem to shame.”

And Oh! How I tend to take “normal days” for granted. Those ones where there is nothing special going on.

No engagements, no events. Just the monotonous hum of a household churning through minutes.

The preparations for dinner strewn across the counter. The minutes before piano lessons. The arms thrown around me from my girl on her way out the door. The beauty of the “welcoming response” to welcome them all back home again. Bo wagging her tail in my shadow. Dave coming in, elbows flying doing the happy dance at the end of his work day. The sometimes tears at not getting things right. A normal text from a friend to buoy me up.

And yes, even sometimes influx of heartbeats yearning to be in three places at the same time. My “common rock” made more beautiful when I leave two of them and chose the most important one…especially when that “most important one” includes snuggling with a child who needs me, and I’m “there” to be needed.

Some sunlight streaming through, especially when noticed on a heavy day.

A pang of gratitude for a discussion at dinnertime.

The pull of “us” bigger than the pull of everything else.

Yes, may we all remember to have so much gratitude for a normal day.

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  1. Agreed! Normal days are my favorite! (It’s probably the introvert in me that has to choose to be an extrovert!) Having a peaceful home is something I never take for granted. PS How is Bo doing with the barking? 🙂

  2. Hey there! While I’ve long-loved this sentiment, your post prompted my curiosity about the writer — who’s name is actually Mary Jean IRION. Check out this post by Tina Lewis Rowe:

    “If you see it incorrectly attributed, let the website know that the correct author is Mary Jean Irion, in the essay, “Let Me Hold You While I May”, in the book, “Yes, World. A Mosaic of Meditation”, published in 1970 by Richard Baron Publishing. And it’s on page 53.”

    Sending Advent love from greater Boston. xo

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