May 17, 2018

The Beautiful Ordinary

Yesterday morning I realized something – Wednesday night was our last ‘normal’ suppertime in this house.  From now on, there will be guests and special events and grad dinners, then packing.

Our last supper happened without any fanfare – we ate our soup and cornbread and passed the salt and Tabasco and discussed the minutiae of the day, and then it was done. 

And now I feel a little bit sad that I didn’t ‘mark the moment’ so to speak, but let it pass unnoticed.  I’m a little bit disappointed in myself, because I am in full Sentimental Mode right now as we wrap up our time in Indonesia.  I could give Hallmark Channel a run for their money. They would cower in my sentimental presence.  Everything is special. Everything is memorable. Everything deserves to be photographed and cried over. Let’s just say it’s a bad week to run out of waterproof mascara.

I wish I could face these last few weeks in Papua insouciantly, without a care, without the need to stop and take stock of each moment, each ‘last’ – but I seem incapable.  I’m doing well with the big things – the kids’ last band concert, the last prayer time with our Indonesian MAF coworkers, my last writers group, etc.

But it’s the day to day moments I also want to remember, the ones that often go overlooked - the small tasks and conversations that make up a life, so beautiful even in their ordinariness.

I’ve had people say to me ‘Your life must be so exciting’ and there are certainly times like that. Mountaintop, euphoric moments, the ones we put in frames around our house and talk about in newsletters. 

But mostly life is made up of ordinary – even boring - moments, one after another – a trip to the pasar, walking down the hill to see my kids off to school, hanging the laundry and watching jets take off, shooing the dog off the porch, sweeping ants (yes, I sweep ants),  helping with homework, coffee with a friend. And a million others.

Have you ever had an existential moment where you stop and think, “I am living in the ‘good ol’ days’ right now”? That some day, some future you will look back at your present and say, “That time – those were golden years.” I have felt that way from time to time about our years in Indonesia, that these are the days we’ll look back on with fondness when we’re 90 and in our rockers.

So here are a few photos of our beautiful ordinary from 'the good ol' days'...

Waiting for the school taxi
The taxi takes off, with Zoe in the back. The kids gripe about it, but I tell them they need something to tell their kids about one day.

Charley on my favorite stretch of road

The always-colorful pasar
Hiking with friends

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