This post has been the hardest to write. Not because I don’t have anything to say on the subject. God knows that I am an expert in the mundane routines of life. It has been difficult because it keeps changing shape. Once I think I’ve got a hold of what needs to be written, it changes. But that, I suppose is the irony in the mundane: It is routine only until it is replaced by another routine.
But that is philosophy for another day. I’m here to talk about being thankful for the mundane. Those moments that are neither valley nor mountain peak. It seems to be harder to remember thankfulness here. We are just taking the next step or grabbing the next handhold. How do you say thank you for that? Let’s bring it down to reality and out of metaphor: How do you say thank you for the 798th load of laundry?
It is a hard topic to pin down, until it is disrupted. When our routine is disrupted by excitement or illness or fear or loss, it is easier to look back and be thankful for the day when all we had to think about was the next thing on our list. I know I have been there. When I sit in fear of the next huge thing happening in the world, I find myself wishing for the routine. I want to only be worried about the dishes.
But then, it all falls back into a routine again and I forget to be thankful for the dishes.
Be thankful for the routine.
Be thankful for the mundane.
Be thankful for the walk.
Not just when you are faced with no longer being in the routine or the mundane or the walk, but right now, while you live it.
There is a book I was given recently that really has shaped my perspective on all of this. It is written by an author who had the choice, and as the world says, the right, to fall into bitterness and anger and to feel slighted by the world; but she didn’t. This woman, Elisabth Elliot, has so much to speak into our lives about suffering and loss and about joy and gain. But then, in the middle of all of that she hits me with this quote:
“When I get up in the morning I do try to make it a practice to do some of my praying first thing in the morning. It’s a good thing to talk to God before you start talking to anybody else. I try to begin my prayers with thanksgiving. There’s always a long list of things for which to be thankful. One of them is I can get up in the morning, that I can be in a comfortable place, looking out over a very beautiful view. I thank God for the sleep of a night, for health and strength and for work to do.” –Elisabeth Elliot ‘Suffering is Never for Nothing’ (2019 B&H)
Some of you know who Elisabeth Elliot is, some of you do not (I guarantee it is worth looking her up), but suffice it to say, she knows what loss is, she knows what joy is, she knows what it is to walk with the Lord and live life thankfully. In this brief sentence she brilliantly states what I have been trying to say here. Live in thankfulness, even when every day is very much the same.
Do you remember a movie called “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray? Probably a movie you should watch on ‘Family View’ filtering if you plan to watch with the kiddos. The jist of the movie is this: a weather man gets stuck in a small town reliving the same Groundhog Day over and over until he gets it “right” but no one is there to tell him what “right” is so he has to stumble about on his own finding out every aspect of that particular day. By the time he gets to move on to February 3rd, he has begun to appreciate all of the things that he took so for granted before the time loop started.
Sometimes I feel stuck in the same day as well. I know I’m not really stuck in the same day, but you get my feeling. In order for me to get out of my rut and feel like I’m moving somewhere I have to find a way to be thankful for each tiny aspect of each day.
It is more difficult to keep up thankfulness when we are moving through the routine, and because it is more difficult it is more important to make it an intentional thing.
What every day routines are you thankful for today?