Ordinary Time

Though March is not the season of Ordinary Time according to the Roman Catholic calendar, we are embracing Ordinary Time in this one Unitarian Universalist household, right now. (One of many aspects of Unitarian Universalist “culture” that I enjoy is that it often seems as though “rules were made to…be discussed.”) It was been a long, full, amazing, intense year of celebrations and events in our lives, this past year. In this strange but it-worked-for-us order, we went on our honeymoon (February 2012), got married (May), wrapped up 2 amazing jobs (July), had a baby (August), moved across the country (September), started a new job (August/September), unpacked, celebrated winter holidays, unpacked some more (ongoing), discovered we’d moved to Washington, D.C. (I’m seriously just noticing this lately, but let’s say February 2013) and my partner Cathy got ordained (March). Whew. We are thrilled to now be entering what we like to call “The Year of Uneventfulness.”

I also like to think of these days we’re settling into as “Ordinary Time,” and I love the term. I’ve been mulling it over for the past week. A friend asked me the other day about Life With Baby, she asked “Does it feel like it’s flying by?” My first response was still to recall the first four months, during which I sometimes had days that felt interminable–far from “flying by.” I remember clearly the days when Robin would only fall asleep during the daytime in my lap, and so I’d just sit in the blue cushioned rocker by the window for hours. And hours. I tried not to count the hours because I do believe that “a watched pot never boils” and counting the hours until Cathy would get home from work only made the day seem longer. Anyway those days did not fly by.

But now that Robin is seven-and-a-half months? Yes, it’s starting to fly by. And I appreciate the question, because it made me realize that yes, I’d be quite happy to “freeze-frame” for a while what our lives are like, right now. It feels, dare I say, like we sort of know what we’re doing, the three of us, like we all recognize each other and sort of know how to handle each other. Robin is consistently sitting happily (and stably) by herself and now regularly enjoys playing by herself with something simple like a string or a single toy–sometimes for as long as 15 or 20 minutes, studying it, mouthing it, passing it from hand-to-hand, and so on. I call that “working on her project.” Who knows what she’s already picked up from her Mamas–we like to work on our projects.

And we certainly have no shortage of projects (does anyone, these days?). But there is something so absolutely calming about realizing that these are all just the ordinary projects of life. We have lots to do–laundry, dishes, cleaning up, cooking, prep work for upcoming events and trips, appointments and errands, forms and bills, taxes and still more unpacking and sorting. But finally it is Ordinary Time. These are the tasks of living. We are so lucky to have all that we have, the components of our lives that we could so easily take for granted–each other, our lively kid, two cantankerous cats, an apartment we like in a neighborhood we love, our health, meaningful work, supportive families, our eclectic and ever-growing communities of friends. Ordinary Time means appreciating What Is, appreciating all this ordinary extraordinaryness.

The Spring Equinox has just passed; Passover and Easter are coming up. Taxes are due soon. Cherry Blossom Season is kicking off in Washington. These are all significant dates on the calendar–your own calendar may have lots of other important dates on it. And, at the same time, what I wish for all of us are more uneventful, ordinary days. Days that end with a deep breath of gratitude. Days that end with a sense of simple satisfaction. Life is an ongoing list of things to do, for sure, but as the saying goes, “Life is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans.” May we all savor the life that happens on our ordinary days.

  • Rev. Deanna

    amen.

  • http://berryandmayasmom@wordpress.com Judy W.

    Lovely, Heather. I have had three nights in a row of a 4-month old baby falling asleep in my arms and I totally love it! Usually Grandmas (or Nonnas in my case) only get the visits and special occasions that mark Not Ordinary Time. But here I am in New York, day after day washing dishes, wiping snotty noses, changing diapers, doing laundry and delighted to be sharing these ordinary days with my daughter and her sons. I totally get what you said.

  • http://trainryder.blogspot.com/ barbara hill

    Sometimes I wish for something other than ordinary.
    Sometimes I get so overwhelmed I forget to be grateful.
    Thank you for this lovely reminder about life.
    I passed on a link to this essay to a UUA/CLF friend whom I think might have missed it.
    Urged her to sit down with a cup of tea and read.
    Barbara


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