For those of us in the southern hemisphere life is beginning to return to “normal” what ever that may mean. The Christmas tree of 2018, along with its decorations, has been packed away, people are returning from summer vacations and back-to-school specials are appearing in the shops. Yes, the festive season is over, and we are moving into ordinary time. Routines are being re-established, regular rosters are being followed and peak hour travel times are building.
It is now a month since I returned to life in Little Bay in the south east of Sydney, following a wonderfully grace-filled 14 week sabbatical and, in one sense, I too am returning to ordinary time. But I am also wondering what ordinary time might mean for me, now that I am not working full time and structuring my Sunday to Thursday working week around the world of work and then my Friday and Saturday weekend focusing on my life out of work- maintaining connections with family and friends, nourishing my spirit and resting my mind and body, and preparing for the coming week at work? What does a weekend mean? How do I live day to day?
Part of my answer to my own question I think relates to how I see ordinary. In popular parlance today, if you describe something as ordinary it often means poor. Ordinary time could be considered as insignificant, the time in-between peak events, the time we while away while waiting for the non-ordinary time- the high points of life (and death although these are not usually planned for so seem to just abruptly interrupt ordinary time). A quick search of synonyms for ordinary include: average, common, commonplace, cut-and-dried, everyday, standard, unexceptional, unremarkable, usual. But really is there any moment that is unremarkable? Is there really any encounter that is commonplace? What is a usual sunrise, or an average flower? I am reminded of David Steindl-Rast YouTube clip “It is a Good Day” in which he draws our attention to the uniqueness of each moment that we so rarely appreciate. So, for me, ordinary time requires awareness and gratitude in the present moment to the uniqueness that is unfolding before me. May I live ordinary time well.