“The mundane and the sacred are one and the same.” – Alan Watts
Our lives are composed mostly of days of mundaneness. Many decisions, challenges, confrontations, with lots of boring parts in between as we do the work. But these days are hardly memorable. As humans, we yearn for the moments of elation. The days we remember. The celebrations. The victories. The times of great laughter with family and friends. Those are the days we hold onto. They help get us through. But who cares for the times in between? The days when we’re tired and drained from life. The Mondays and Tuesdays. Those days when all we can do is dream about the beach and palm trees as the rain runs down our window pane.
Q: Why do some look negatively on life while others with less favorable circumstances rise above?
A: They lose sight of what matters
Keep your head up
I’ve had those days. You feel a bit dragged through the mud. This week I felt a bit like I wanted to throw my arms up in surrender. The other day I received a traffic violation and a few days later I went to down to my locker in the basement of my building to discover that my race bike had been stolen. You’ve got to step back. Take a deep breath. Pray. Talk to God.
Q: Is life meant to be challenging?
A: Yes. Otherwise it would be boring and without purpose.
Some days are great. For me recently it’s been when I’m doing a long run on sunny Saturday morning through Centennial Park, a time of pondering and thought at Meriverie Pass (just north of Bondi Beach) watching the beautiful waves crash up against the cliffs and rocks below and finishing it off with dinner with a friend in the Surry Hills. I’m relearning that at college (I’ve done Uni before) we depend on the little things to get us by. What would appear to some as small rewards can make a significant impact on a college student’s life. That meal out or a day trip to a park with friends can make all the difference. We must embrace the celebrations that we get to be a part of. The celebrations with friends and our milestones. They get us through.
Q: How do you rise above the occasion?
A: Look at the bigger picture.
Embrace the path ahead
I’m looking at what’s happened here in the past 7 months, and what is ahead. There have been many, many challenges and there will be many more. Long hours of class, work, serving at church and living among 5 much younger roommates. There are times I want to curl up in a ball. I rest and am restored. And realize it’s all good. I’m being stretched, and I’m growing. That’s good. Very good.
Q: What is it all for?
A: Life is about people and relationships; not production and output.
There is great beauty in between the days and the unknowns. People are such an important part of our lives. They should be anyways. Losing my niece last year I came to a realization: I must embrace both the good and bad – always. There are too many mysteries and events out of my control that occur throughout the course of a day and my life to base my happiness on. I’ve tried it and it most certainly is fatal. We must face the bad and embrace it like the prodigal son. And then we must be constructive. Smile, spend time with good friends, listen to music that restores our souls, have a piece of chocolate, go for long walks, pray and give thanks. It all helps. We can choose to do the opposite. We have choice afterall. We are free to be angry, frustrated and exhausted. We can indulge in what our feelings tell us. But we should resist dwelling on those. Those feelings never do us any good, anyways. We should acknowledge those feelings are there, but we must do good things to fill them with.
“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Berthold Auerbach
Take a chance for the better
Q: Why do some seem unhappy while others with less are?
A: Life is about the choices we make
If we gave up on the mundane and challenging days or gave up on people that disappointed we would never have the opportunity to celebrate the special days or witness the transformation in people and share their victories. As God is our guiding light, we must also be for others. 4 years ago I was lost and broken. A cab driver saw something good in me. He decided to take the time to share and help me. He saw the potential and goodness in me at a time of when I didn’t see much of that. I felt as though there was only a shroud of darkness floating over my life. I barely had the energy to get up in the morning. He told me I was going to the wrong places to find the answers. What I needed to do was to find hope and community, and where I would find that was at church. I had to take a chance. I had to step out and trust it could get better from there.
Never stop dreaming
We mustn’t dismiss the quiet and subtleness of the times in between. For that is when things are happening. Those are the inner workings of greatness. We might not realize it, but over time it does pay off. We must continue to dream. Never stop dreaming. We must do the things that take courage. As simple as getting up in the morning or as challenging as pursuing our dreams.
Like peering through the wet and dark shroud of a forest. We must look for the beautiful formation in nature, not the darkness. We must look for the dew drops on branches, the floating mist hugging the forest floor and choir of wildlife at work. That’s where the beauty resides, and so it does in our lives.
“The remarkable thing is, we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.” – Charles R. Swindoll