I've been reading and re-reading a book called "Cold Tangerines" lately and its blessed me quite a bit. Its written by this woman named Shauna Niequist and is basically a collection of bits and pieces of life all strung together by the idea that life, and all of life, is worth celebrating. I get high on this idea when its articulated well. High. This highness has lead me to blog, but I warn you- its a bit jumpy. I looked back over this post and thought " My goodness, Carly, stay in one place!". However, its my blog, and I'll jump if I want to? Mehhh...
Anyhoo-in light of my recent read, I've been trying to find beauty in what is regularly referred to as "ordinary life" and I've been finding that "ordinary" doesn't much exist. I've been finding that really, most things are extraordinary. The "extra" is discovered when we pull back a few feet and look at the landscape of our stories, and how what we have believed to be normal life is, in fact, a succession miraculous moments sewn together ( with all sorts of thread- pain, birth, death, relationship etc. ). We're too close to it, too used to it to recognize how amazing our daily lives are. Extraordinary feels like ordinary because its constant... and we come to find ourselves bored with extraordinary.
As I've been skating around on the idea of learning how to celebrate everything, I've wondered if maybe the most gracious blessings, the most awesome moments, are in the unnecessary. What I mean by unnecessary is that according to logic, according to what science might say we need to survive- there are blessings all around that are outside of need that are wildly beautiful and in those things, I'm finding joy. Here's the truth- atheistically speaking, we can deduce a lot of reasons why this faith we profess could be some delusion or a set of social norms or a safety blanket for people crippled by fear... but one thing they can't put in a box is awe.
Awe. Everyone experiences this and it is that word that describes knowing, even subconsciously, that something is far greater than our understanding. Its the feeling that takes our breath. Its the thing that defy's our logic and leaves us gawking at life. When we see something magnificent, awe. When we are surprised by great news, awe. When we fall in love with something/ someone, awe. The list goes on.
I would venture to say that humans were created to worship God- we were created to be in awe. I believe this not because of an idea I've committed to agreeing with- but because I see it all the time. Whether you're someone who professes faith or someone who thinks its all meaningless, I believe you experience this worship- this awe thing- more often than you know. I also believe that we ought to be in awe far more than we allow ourselves to be ( see: extraordinary vs. ordinary). I think we should be in awe when we eat anything delicious. I think we should be in awe when we get a paycheck. I think we should be in awe when we connect with ANYONE- because what are the odds? I think we should be in awe every time we laugh because WHAT IS THAT!? Unnecessary. Blessing.
I had to drive back to my parents' house the other day and as I pulled into the driveway I experienced something that has become somewhat of an annual tradition for me. I pulled into my driveway, got out of my car and just stood before my front yard in...awe. My Dad dabbled in landscaping and is a generally creative dude, and he decided to plant two trees in my front yard when I was in about 4th grade. Every year the trees get more impressive. You see, he purposefully planted one liquid amber and one gingko. I forget about them most of the year but come fall- they're hard to ignore. He planted them on purpose because, as all tree enthusiasts know, liquid ambers turn bright red and gingkos bright yellow. They light up like you wouldn't believe and their leaves rain down like red and yellow confetti on my lawn.
The naysayers out there might be reading this thinking,"No duh, Carly. That's nature. Leaves change color, fall off, grow back and so on. Its seasonal and part of the natural world." Sure, naysayer. Sure it is.
Now we've arrived at the third ambiguous word that I used in the title of this blog: SUPERnatural. You see, I don't think things are " just natural" anymore either. Leaves flashing from green to yellow to orange to fiery bright red JUST BECAUSE?!!?! That. Is. Amazing.
Sure its part of the natural process of things as we've come to know it but, my friends, it didn't HAVE to. Maybe watching something happen over and over, getting bored with it and labeling it "normal" is the opposite of what we're supposed to do. Maybe we're supposed to allow awe to seep into the way we see what we consider "natural". Maybe there's a creator who is so gracious that He made a friggin organism that, yes, cleans our air for us so we can breathe and live and OH WAIT, lets make it spectacular! Lets make it CHANGE COLORS every year. Lets make it electrify streets and litter lawns with its color.
A delicious meal? Ok, humans need food to survive. Lets give them plants and animals that have the nutrients they need and OH WAIT, lets toss in TASTE buds and allow food to be something that can give JOY instead of just sustain them. Lets make it tasty. WHAT!!? Unnecessary blessing.
I could probably list examples of these concepts until I get carpel tunnel and my hands fall off ( I'm pretty sure that doesn't happen when you get carpel tunnel). All that is to say... perhaps we aren't enjoying our lives very much because we've allowed the extraordinary to become ordinary, the supernatural to become natural, and have replaced awe with indifference. We've become proud little buggers and have our reason perfectly in tact but are BORED. Boring. That sounds so boring.
I don't profess to be living a full life. I numb out too much with Pinterest and T.V., allow myself to become isolated, get overtaken by stress and anxiety, and am a sinner in so many arenas I can barely keep track. However, when I let myself get carried away by the bits and pieces of my life, when I pan out with a wide lense and really look into how I could be celebrating more, I realize I've missed out on millions of opportunities to stop and say thanks to a God that blesses me with an abundance of unnecessary.
I don't know if my ramblings make sense and maybe this is part one of a few blogs about how to celebrate well and what keeps us from it but, I hope maybe today you might try to see beyond the normalcy of your life. Hm?
Until next time,
Carly Calmes the First