Today begins Ordinary Time, liturgically speaking.
Christmas season is over.
Lent has not yet begun (Feb 17. Six weeks soon!).
This is the time between. And for a long time, I used to kind of feel…bereft. Like, ‘So, what now?”
Yeah, there’s the whole resolution thing (‘nother post, that). There’s the whole gung ho, ‘get it together’ push from the culture at large. Lose weight, get in shape, get organized, get back at it, get sharp, ya da ya da. But, after all the richness and hoopla of Christmas…it’s easy to be kind of deflated, just a little anyway. Or it used to be, spiritually, for me. Because, liturgically, this was kind of an undefined time for my senses. And that made it hard for me to get a handle on it all….prayerfully speaking. Where’s the focus anyhow?
But ya know, one of the real perks of getting to be such an old crone is that some things come into focus. And one of them is the beauty of Ordinary Time.
Because Ordinary time is…..ordinary.
I know I know….all you academics and intellectuals out there will direct me to the doctrinal underpinnings of this. And those are great. But I’m talking about just my whirly thoughts about it all and where my mind goes with all this.
Because it’s an interesting concept: Ordinary Time. Why bother with even trying to think about it..isn’t it just TOO dull? Maybe not. Maybe it’s where the deepest beauty really runs, in some ways…the contentment, the rich, the fullness, the joy. And really, to really truly find that deep contentment, don’t you have to kind of live in the moment? Now? In the ordinary stuff and fluff and mire of every-day. Every day? Um, I think so. And, for me at least, that is really a MUCH bigger challenge than being swept along by the rich pageantry and bounty of traditions that are tied to Christmas. My mind tends to dwell in the near future, what’s just ahead….much like a never stopping gerbil mill, around and around and around it goes.
And I only really have come to recognize the potential worth of this very ordinary-ness as I’ve aged up a bit and slowed down a bit and, honestly, gotten more and more mired in the most mundane of daily tasks and minutiae. Sometimes that very mire of the ordinary and mundane can seem to almost drown you (Ok, me).
But if I lift my head, and slow down and try to be present in that ordinaryness, without having to try to knead it into something else, something bigger or more grand….if (And here’s the catch, for me) I ACCEPT IT….. then, and only then, can I catch a glimmer of it’s beauty. Of the quiet goodness of it. Or the loud goodness of it, as the case may be (Very rowdy boys in my house, ahem).
Anyhow, so I have kind of grown to like this season. And I think it’s fitting that it begins in the dormant quiet of winter. I need this time too to bundle up, cozy in, slow down. I need to retrain my mind to quiet. I need to retrain my mind to accept, this moment, good or bad, right here, right now. Because it’s that lying low, fallow, and quieting – inside – that I struggle to find and hold onto.
But it’s a new season, starting today (or technically, last night after vespers…thanks Buddybug).
To embrace the very ordinary time of my days….that’s where I find the treasures.