The privilege of the ordinary: breath and air

We will breathe ordinary air, not air laced with nerve gas that will leave us foaming at the mouth,
gasping for otherwise ordinary oxygen.


The ordinary essentials of an ordinary life: billfold, phone, keys

The ordinary essentials of an ordinary life

I get to do ordinary things today. The ordinary early morning wake up, the ordinary retrieval of the newspapers, the ordinary cup of hot tea, the ordinary preparation of coffee for my husband.

I wear the ordinary walking clothes, ready for the ordinary sunrise walk. I begin the ordinary laundry catch-up, the ordinary email clean out. I prepare for the ordinary hours of reading and writing.

I get to do ordinary things today.

No chemical weapons have dropped on my neighborhood.

No bombs randomly blow up buildings as I walk by them, or buses as they go by me.

There’s plenty of ordinary food for ordinary meals. I don’t have to beg or scrounge for a piece of bread or a glass of clean water or a handful of rice.

I get to go to a fund-raising dinner for an agency that works with the homeless and near-homeless to help them find housing and financial stability. I get to eat an ordinary meal with not-so-ordinary friends while we support a talented and tireless staff who fight the ordinary poverty that flourishes in ordinary cities.

We will breathe ordinary air, not air laced with nerve gas that will leave us foaming at the mouth, gasping for otherwise ordinary oxygen.

Yes, I get to do ordinary things today.

Most of us will. But too many will not. Too many live with the very air around them filled with treacherous possibilities. Too many cringe under a tyrant’s temper tantrums with too many fingers on the buttons of too many ways to kill or maim too many people.

I’m lucky. I refuse to call myself “blessed” because that implies those who suffer are “cursed.

Nope. I’m just lucky. I get to be ordinary today.

I wish everyone could have an ordinary day. For that wish to come true, I have need to leave ordinary behind. That’s what it means to live with the awareness that we are all connected to one another.

When I choose to isolate myself in my ordinary, I have to pretend that no one else counts.

That is the ordinary way. It’s also the way to destruction.

But I admit it: I feel helpless today in my ordinary.

About Christy Thomas

I am an opinionated Jesus-follower, a retired elder in the United Methodist church, a questioner of everything, and a lover of grace. I am married to a wonderful man and together we claim 11 children and 12 grandchildren. I love to travel, garden, walk and connect ideas together.

  • Robin Shope Jansen

    I love the simplicity of my life as I read your blog. Today I get to drive to my job and sit at my desk. I sip tea and prepare for the ordinary school day. At 9 I have a meeting along with the other staff members. Just this morning, my son thanked me for taking a day off from work this week in order to spend his birthday with him and take him to his doctor appointments. I can turn off the horror of the world on TV when I want to wrap myself in a cocoon bc there is not a thing I can do to help. It makes me sad. And guilty.

  • Chuck Johnson

    “I wish everyone could have an ordinary day. For that wish to come true, I
    have need to leave ordinary behind. That’s what it means to live with
    the awareness that we are all connected to one another.”

    ————————————————————————————————————-

    “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

  • jekylldoc

    Helpless? By what standard? It makes sense to allow ourselves to recognize the vulnerability that comes with caring, or even with refusing to pretend no one else counts. I suppose feeling helpless is a natural feeling that goes with the recognition. But like a lot of feelings, it calls for a measured response eventually.

  • gimpi1

    I like your description of “lucky” as opposed to “blessed.” I, too, refer to my unearned good fortune as being lucky. In part because I’m not sure about the identity of anyone bestowing blessings, and in part for the reason you give.

    I have noticed that people who refer to their unearned good fortune as “blessings” tend to be less generous towards those not so “blessed,” perhaps because language shapes our thinking and “blessed” does have overtones of having been found somehow more deserving by some power than other not so “blessed.”

    Luck, on the other hand, is understood as being totally unearned. I haven’t earned anything regarding my birth in the U.S., a rich, western country. I haven’t earned my marriage, the compatibility my husband and I enjoy, the happenstance that led us to meet and grow to love each other, is luck. On the other side, my developing rheumatoid arthritis, my parents disabilities and their deaths, those were luck, too. Bad luck.

    Most of the best things that have happened in my life are simply good luck, and most of the bad things are simply bad luck. Neither things I should be blamed for or things I earned. Just like most people…

    Perhaps that’s why we’re encouraged not to sit in judgement over others – because much of what happens to us is not “reward” or “punishment” for our actions, but just the mindless workings of “luck.” That’s why we need to help each other out. Because bad luck can hit anyone.