Sunday, May 19, 2013

Beauty in the Ordinary

A scene from NBC's The Office

"There is so much beauty in ordinary things. But that's kind of the point, isn't it?"

Those of you who are fans of The Office know exactly where this quote came from: this week's series finale of the beloved show. This hilarious comedy took a mundane desk-job environment and extracted all the love, humor, and quirkiness it could get out of it. After 9 seasons on air, the brilliant finale ended Thursday with that one simple line. Beauty in the ordinary. It filled me up and knocked me over all at once. That is exactly what I have been feeling in my own life.

I live in the suburbs. I am a stay-at-home-mom of a white, middle class family. We have one child, two dogs, four bedrooms, and 3.2 million toys. If we travel, it is to visit grandparents. If we party, it is because it's someone's birthday. Our favorite kind of Friday night is one where we order pizza and watch something on Netflix. We have no claim to fame, and certainly not to fortune. Our lives are remarkably unremarkable.


look a little deeper, 

and there are gold mines.

Look at the house that has become a home and a place of safety, belonging, and familiarity for a couple weary of moving. Look at the upstairs office that was turned into a nursery to welcome home a beautiful baby girl who is thriving and flourishing and bringing almost unbearable amounts of joy to her parents. Look at the couple who has had their share of ups and downs but is now closer than ever. Look at the friends that frequent our doorstep, the pictures that grace the mantle, and the toys that scatter the floor. All these are so very ordinary, and yet so full of depth and meaning. 

An ordinary day in the Huber living room.
Life with small children can be terribly mundane. Each day holds the same meals, messes, clean-ups, naps, diaper changes, and play times as the day before it did. And the day before that. And the day before that. It can all feel so stale and boring. (Sara Groves has the perfect song and music video for this stage of life called Setting Up the Pins.) But...BUT...I steal a sweet, slobbery kiss each time I strap Shiloh into her car seat. I get to see my husband, the love of my life, unfold into a confident and compassionate father; and, I can watch as my baby girl runs into his arms when he arrives home and goes back for as many zerberts as she can get. I get a first hand look at a tiny human learning all there is to know about life, and experience a mother's love - a love more desperate and beautiful than any I'd ever known. You see, there is so much beauty in the ordinary it is simply indescribable. It is impossible to put into words. 

This week as I laid in my hammock in our back yard I sensed the beauty almost tangibly. The baby was asleep, my hubby was working in the yard, my two crazy dogs were chasing each other around, and the beautiful Carolina blue skies held my gaze. It was just so simple, so utterly and completely ordinary, and so breathtakingly beautiful. It is those moments we will miss when we find ourselves in the next hard season. The next time the phone rings with bad news, it will be those peaceful, boring, gut-wrenchingly ordinary days that I will miss.

So for today, I will cherish the ordinary. I will take the time to reflect on the lack of drama in our lives and be thankful.

"I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you left them." (Thanks yet again, The Office.)

You know something? I think that is exactly what this is.


  1. Rachel, This is really, really beautiful. And really, really true. Thank you.

  2. Rach--
    You are a really good writer. I mean, REALLY GOOD. I could revisit these posts and glean something different; they are rich. Don't stop! Your musings and observations are a blessing. ~ellen

  3. Thanks, Ellen (and Julie!) That means so much coming from fine writers like the two of you!