Somehow, through the years, I have become a more negative person than I used to be. I’m not sure if it is hard times that have taken some of the optimism out of my outlook, or perhaps just a bit more maturity that keeps me from seeing the good and overlooking the bad. In some ways, this change has helped me become a more realistic person, but in other ways, it causes me to dwell too much on the negative side of situations. I have to work harder to discover any beauty in the ordinary things around me.
A couple of weeks ago I stood at my window and looked at my backyard with a critical eye. While we have been making some good progress on our front yard, the back has been sorely neglected. I looked out over the overgrown weeds and pieces of broken lumber and cringed. I felt in that moment a sense of despair. Like my children would outgrow my home before I outgrow the overwhelming number of projects.
I saw no beauty in the ordinary.
Just a few minutes later, my three-year old came running from his bedroom and stood beside me at the back window. His perspective helped to change mine. The delight was evident in his voice as he excitedly announced “Look mommy! The dandelions went to seed! Now we can blow them!”. Instead of seeing anything negative, for Justice, our backyard was a visual treat that created excitement in his young life.
This experience has stuck with me over the past few weeks. It has gently reminded me to discover the beauty in the ordinary things in life. When I look at a situation through the eyes of my children, it is easier to avoid negativity.
Perhaps the ordinary is not so ordinary after all.
We will always be surrounded with “ordinary” things. My backyard is not going to be transformed overnight. Every improvement, every bit of progress, eventually becomes ordinary itself. The key is to continue to find delight in the little things. My bookcase wall, once a place where I could be caught with a huge grin of pure delight on my face, now collects dust and creates more work. The place out front that used to be an empty space waiting for landscaping has slowly accumulated pieces of wood and ladders and tools. These spaces, once easy to see the beauty in, have become more ordinary. But when I stop and think of what they used to be, they don’t seem quite as ordinary. They change. We change. But there’s truly not much in life that is really ordinary if we stop and think about it.
I’m going to make a more concerted effort to look at the ordinary things in my life in a different light. Perhaps I’ll stop and view them through the eyes of my children. I’ll try to restore a bit more of that optimism that used to be a unique marker of my personality. I’ll try to remember what it’s like to blow away the dandelion seeds as a little child. I’m working on always finding beauty in the ordinary.
What about you? What ways do you discover extraordinary delight in ordinary things? Leave me a comment and let me know your tips!