It’s not that it wanders really. It’s more like chasing thoughts…down a rat hole.
For example, today, I was reading a review of Marilynne Robinson’s novel, Gilead. One review says, “Gilead reveals the human condition and the often unbearable beauty of an ordinary life.” Did you get that?
The often unbearable beauty of an ordinary life. Consider that for a moment. Most of us live ordinary lives, all-the-while craving the extraordinary lives of saints and celebrities. But what of that unbearable beauty? Those moments that transcend time and seem to last an eternity.
In college, a friend expressed it well. “I’m having wonderful memories of this moment already.” And we were just sitting on a rock looking at a lake with stars above it. It was ordinary. And unbearably beautiful.
I must confess that I want to live an extraordinary life – to be accomplished, and perhaps renown, to leave a mark on this world, to be someone important, to have prestige, stature, and reputation. I have always been driven, and I learned recently not to apologize for that aspect of my personality. I’m not the only person who has this temperament – perhaps you feel it too.
And it feels cliche to say I want to avoid being driven by that which is merely temporal, and instead drive toward the eternal. It’s not just cliche – it’s the right thing to say, as a Christian. It feels artificial to say such a thing. (I appreciate Paul’s take on this topic.) My mind is at war with my soul. Still, I want to dwell on the unbearable beauty of ordinary life.
Like sunrise at the beach. My husband’s breathing as he sleeps. Sunlight streaming through freshly cleaned windows. The cat sleeping in that sun. Toothpaste just before it hits your teeth in the morning. The sound and scent of brewing coffee. Leaves blowing in spring winds. Washing dishes after a feast. My hand in his as he prays.