An honor to live

To those who live and work nearby, Washington DC is ordinary and familiar.  March 2013

To those who live and work nearby, Washington DC is ordinary and familiar. March 2013

“I am grateful for my daily life; it is an honor to live it.  My day-to-day routine holds many mysteries, even though it has become ordinary and comfortable to me.” 
Steve Deger

No matter where we travel, Jeff and I always try to get off the tourist path for at least a few hours, and go where the locals go: the grocery stores and libraries and pubic transportation.  It’s a source of unending fascination to me that people in contrasting locations and circumstances live lives that are strikingly familiar in many ways.  How fun to imagine that people go about “normal” lives in places such as Paris, Bermuda, Alaska or the Caribbean.  Yet many might find my life, dividing my time between two very different sorts of homes, to be somewhat exotic as well.

I know I might get an argument here, but I think each of us lives an interesting life.  Even if there is nothing glamorous about one’s daily routine, it is completely unique, and that’s enough to make it interesting to me.  The masters of art and literature evidently agree with me, because most of the greatest works, though set in different eras and locations, illuminate the lives of everyday people.

The author Jan Karon has said that she writes “to celebrate the extraordinary beauty of ordinary lives.”  I love that thought.  I find that same beauty in the countless blogs I have seen, each with something unique to offer.  Today, I hope you will be able to recognize the poetry of your own existence, and treasure the honor of being able to live it.

21 Comments

  1. Karen

    Well said, Julia. God gave us all unique lives.

    • Thanks Karen. It has always amazed me that there can be so many people in the world, each so complex and no two alike. Way more staggering to contemplate than the number of unique snowflakes, which is a wonder in itself. I appreciate your visits here!

  2. Thanks, Julia, for all of your blogs. Sadly, I haven’t taken the time to say that little six letter word.

    • You’re welcome! I am so glad to have you reading and I hope you will continue to enjoy them. Thanks for your comment, too!

  3. Mike Bertoglio

    Good thoughts. And there is the quote of Nabakov, in regards to writing, to” kiss the Divine details.’ That was in Natalie Goldbergs work, “Writing down the Bones,’ which I am sure you are familiar with. Not that familiar with Jan Karon. Have to check them out.
    This question might be too personal but a co worker of my wife just was diagnosed with stage three lung cancer. They want to get them a card-etc. I said, ” You don’t someone with cancer a, “Get well soon card.” Do you have any thoughts on these cards and serious illnesses and what might be appropriate?

    • Mike, I love Goldberg’s work. Bones opened the door for me in many ways, as it has done for so many others. I had been writing for years, though in a stilted, rather academic way, and immediately connected with Goldberg’s advice and style of giving it. I’ve read almost all of her books and enjoyed them all. Re: the cancer question: it is always nice to say “thinking of you” and for situations where both sender and receiver are people of faith, the (genuine) assurance that one is praying for the situation is always comforting. I know in Jeff’s case, he was eager to keep the “cancer” talk well in hand and not let it take over our lives; he limited how often and how much we talked about it, and it worked well for him. But I think the biggest mistake people can make in such situations (whether it be illness, having a child with disabilities, or other challenges) is to withdraw from the person(s) because one is fearful of saying or doing the wrong thing, or intensely uncomfortable with being present for another’s suffering. Isolation is a very real and present danger for people in challenging circumstances, and it’s so important to stay connected in sensitive but friendly ways that don’t necessarily reference the troubling situation. Life goes on, and recognition of that is welcome and needed.

    • Joyce McGirr

      Don’t get them a card. Go see them or write your own heart felt thoughts and desires for them to be well on your own card. Just thinking. Joyce

      • Joyce, I agree that a handwritten note or personalized card is extra-special.

  4. I wonder sometimes, if people with ‘BIG’ lives are enjoying them as much as ‘ordinary’ folks. You know, like celebrities or maybe even the Obamas. Sometimes when you think about what you’d still like to accomplish or where you’d still like to go it’s a little overwhelming. One spends so much of life just making life comfortable, best to find joy in the little things. Yesterday I planted my pots while listening to some good music outside in the driveway. Not extraordinary but not ordinary either, while I wish it was in my ‘new’ yard it still was a pleasing endeavour.

    • I agree that many “ordinary” people have lives that are much happier and more fulfilling than those of celebrities. I long ago realized that fame is a very mixed blessing, if it is a blessing at all. I cherish being able to go out and about in relative anonymity, not suffering any unwelcome intrusions. Of course, those who seek fame in any arena (politics, Hollywood, business or publication, to name just a few) have often worked hard to achieve it, but I just don’t see how life can get much better than a cup of tea with a friend, a relaxing vacation with a beloved spouse, or a long walk on a beautiful day in lovely surroundings. Wealth, if handled judiciously and generously, can make life easier for oneself and others, but there are few advantages to widespread fame, in my opinion. I think it’s a drug that soon loses its high and leaves the person depleted and wary of others, 99% of whom just want something.

      • I never thought of that point! Yes, you’d always be weary of making new friends šŸ˜¦ Oh, how awful that would be. I think the best way to be famous (if that was your dream) would be a author with a best seller. You’d have the benefit of a nice pay-check but anonymity too.

        • Maybe, but if you had a bestseller, you’d be doing the book tours and the radio and TV circuits, and your photo would likely be splashed on the book jackets and promo materials. Still, unless you were Stephen King or Danielle Steel or someone of that mega-market ilk, probably only your readers would recognize you. But even that would be kind of overwhelming, I think, after a certain point. You couldn’t have bad hair days almost everyday as I am accustomed to doing. For those of us who have been blessed with a comfortable income and NO fame or other distractions, it’s just as it said on the card I sent you…”Life is Sweet!”

  5. Sheila

    Julia, I look forward to everyday and to our correspondence! Bill’s brother described it best,
    ” a sweet friendship”. Whether we discuss the Pink Pig at Lenox Square in Atlanta or Piedmont Airlines or Pasha and Salty or sweet tea, we are important to each other. I will take the wealth of knowing you and caring about you and your family… and consider myself rich! Your southern friend, Sheila

    • Awww, thank you Sheila! I am so happy you found my blog! šŸ™‚

  6. Nancy

    No argument from me, Jules…mine is most definitely interesting!

    • So true, Nancy…and I can think of at least 3 very good reasons why! Give those young men a hug for me.

  7. Joyce McGirr

    “Recognize the poetry of your own existence” is a powerful thought. Thank you.

    • Thank you Joyce. It’s a bit harder to see the poetry in the hospital waiting rooms, but I have no doubt it’s here as well. In fact there may be more emotional material here than in many other places. The sun is shining through the skylights and the staff are smiling and kind, so there are always reasons to be grateful. Thanks for being here!

  8. I am always thankful for the blessing to be able to share life again, to smile again, to lift someone again, and just to be able to love life again! No matter the good or sad things that may come my way I am still able to bring a smile to another’s life. Thanks for always sharing the way you do…it is a true blessing Julia!

    • Wendell, thanks so much for your kind words. They are a true encouragement to me. Thanks also for the reminder that we are always able to spread joy!

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