Bogged Down in the Mundane?
I live with feet on the dirt. Sometimes.
I hate pictures of me because they document weight gain.
I want other people’s approval, and I feel sick in my gut minutes after I combust on somebody. Usually the people I love most dearly.
If I’m not diligent, bitterness and unforgiveness seep into my bones and make them leaden and brittle.
In a weak spot, I’ll order french fries to abate a mounting frustration, and I will coddle fear. I’m out of town as I write this, and I actually opened the closet in my room last night to make sure there wasn’t a dead body tucked in there. I don’t even know…
Too often I live in the world where To Do lists and the expectations of others (or more savagely, those of myself) are the tyrants of any day.
I live in the land where my house is rarely clean, and I am perpetually mocked by laundry mountain ranges and a dishwasher full of clean dishes…..except for the spoon, bowl, and milk cup someone just loaded and newly soiled the entire lower rack.
That’s how I experience the world a lot of the time.
Sometimes I see the right things.
The mundane reality of dirt dwelling is unzipped to unveil the timeless.
It’s a bit like trouncing through a colorless shoe store thick with the tang of leather and finding a secret door in its stock room. One that requires a password after an anonymous bulging eyeball scrutinizes you through a formerly latched peephole.
This seeing of right things is less about the things and more about the seeing. The objects in their physicalness retain the same dimensions and weight. A flower still looks like a flower, but its color is richer and it evokes a soul reply. Its song reverberates along the train track of my nervous system.
Behind the shoe store door, kindness looks like strangers high-stepping through tall grass on the interstate shoulder to assist a driver who spun out.
Peanut butter lands brand new and leads a call-and-response of praise with a choir of taste buds.
A “No Farms, No Food” bumper sticker feels earthy and true.
The final pages of a good book bring the most satisfied mourning, and a small hill with three crosses on top, drawn in the dirt on the back of a semi, makes perfect, beautiful sense.
Videos of dogs when their servicemen return, cancer warriors when they ring the bell at the completion of chemo, a husband walking away from his wife’s grave with their toddler daughter on his shoulders. Wedding photographs of an older couple.
Grief and joy and perseverance and second chances captured.
Writing by a fireplace in the mountains. Driving with the moonroof open and the hatchback glass down, the breeze sweetened with the incense of honeysuckle. Walking through the smell of baby at the grocery store, passing all the Johnson & Johnson products. The giddy novelty of shredding chicken with a mixer. Biting into a strawberry minutes out of the field, the drippy perfection of real and fresh.
Tiny occurrences that somehow touch the fabric we’re made of. Small stuff that resonates with how we are fashioned. Who we are meant to be. What we are meant for.
I am touched as I pass a pack of four motorcycle troopers, and I cannot even articulate how to my own self. Gratitude and concern and respect stirred into a sentimental, patriotic swirl.
As I traveled down the interstate alongside a funeral procession, I was struck by the display of honor and remembrance. Their headlights ablaze and their flashers signaling in unison. I wondered so many things. Who he was. How he died. Who he left behind. How old he was. What kind of life he lived. What he considered his greatest accomplishment. What he regretted most.
And I wondered when my day will come.
Along the drive, I burned through some George Strait Pandora, and I sang extra loudly and wildly to Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying.” In it, a man given a terminal diagnosis in his forties shares how his new reality shaped his perspective of his limited time:
I went sky divin’,
I went rocky mountain climbin’,
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu.
And I loved deeper,
And I spoke sweeter,
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying,
And he said, “Someday I hope you get the chance,
To live like you were dyin’.”
Perhaps my soul is old-fashioned and simple. Dusty and conservative, homespun and irrelevant.
But in my shoes, grace and love and respect and beauty and compassion and wonder and joy and thankfulness and peace and honor and kindness are the good stuff. The right things.
Rail against it as we will, we were made for such things. Our souls feel at home in them. They fit like a favorite pair of jeans.
A supernatural sage once penned,
Think about what is up there, not about what is here on earth. Colossians 3:2 (CEV)
At every given moment, our eyes are either on the dirt. Or the invisible important. We cannot entertain them both at once.
May we unzip the mundane more often and look with eyes attached to our souls.[Images: Dimitris Stiliaras, Pierre Lachaine, Julie Falk, Squash Valley Produce]