Special days get more respect than ordinary days. We routinely look forward to birthdays and anniversaries, vacations and retirement. Even looking toward the end of the work week can ramp up the anticipation of a couple days away from a normal schedule.
Yet that is not where we spend most of our lives. Most days involve the routine. Holding down a job. Household chores. Taking care of family.
If we see those common activities as reluctant obligations, we set ourselves up for feeling worn down and unfulfilled. We even run the risk of being trapped by drudgery, and gradually slide into resentment.
That doesn’t sound healthy, useful or promising. It might be better to backup and rethink how we feel about ordinary days. If we don’t, we could spend most of our lives unsatisfied.
Here’s what can happen on an ordinary day.
We can make the effort to look for small pleasures, nuggets of joy, appetizers of the marvelous. It doesn’t have to be anything major. But we can frequently overlook little things that we can enjoy, things we experience but perhaps failed to fully appreciate.
While working a job, whether we enjoy it or not, we are providing for ourselves and perhaps our families. There is great honor in being responsible, taking care of ourselves and others, providing whatever is needed. It may not be the job we wanted, but we can still be grateful for the opportunity to work and the benefits it provides.
Everyday there are opportunities all around us to learn about our world and the people we meet. We can gain a greater understanding of the what and the why. That knowledge grows exponentially, as the small item we learn today is added to the small tidbits we’ve learned other days. They feed each other.
When we combine increased knowledge and life experience, it can mature into wisdom. We might gain wisdom during the extra special days. But more often it comes from the gradual accumulations of an ordinary life well lived.
We can find small ways to show kindness. To us it may seem like no big deal. But to those who receive that kindness it could be an enormous gift. You’ll never know how meaningful it may have been to someone. Some small thing you do can change a life.
Whether working or not, every day is a chance to prepare for whatever life goals we have chosen. Today’s effort may not seem like much. But when added to all the other small things we’ve done, it prepares a solid foundation for the future.
For believers, every day is another chance to gain another glimpse of God. We learn a little more of the divine truths. We discover how we can better express our faith and act. We gain a bit more insight into the majesty, wisdom, and love of God. We grow.
And Christians have another reason to appreciate every day. Some day God will wrap up the human experience, and call all who have claimed him unto himself. It will probably start off as an ordinary day, until it isn’t.
It would appear that it’s never really necessary to have an ordinary day. There are extraordinary opportunities before us every time we wake.
In its own small way, every day can be a small adventure.
God has given us a free will to choose how we will proceed each new day. We can dread it, or celebrate it. We can trudge along with our eyes to the ground, or we can look around and see what is special. We can feel trapped by a mind-numbing routine, or hold on to the promise that each new day brings small unexpected delights, discoveries and opportunities.
God never meant for us to be bored or depressed. He did intend to be there for us no matter what life brings.
If we allow him, he can help us climb out of whatever wears us down, and into a better day.
Dave Soucie lives, serves and writes in Indianapolis.