Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.
- William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents.
I love this quotation. It embodies a wisdom that I have long sought to embrace but keep forgetting in the daily demands of my life. By making “the ordinary come alive,” we bring nobility, dignity, and integrity to our lives and to those whose lives we touch. David Tacey refers to the same concept in his book about Aboriginal/Australian spirituality, Edge of the Sacred (Daimon Verlag Publishing, 2009), a book I have mentioned in a previous posting. In Dr. Tacey’s words, “…we bear witness to sublime values and concerns found in ordinary places, people, and things…If there is anything sacred, let us discover it in the here and now.” (pp 184-185)
There is much wisdom in this approach to living – every encounter in our lives becomes an act of reverence and respect. As attendance in traditional places of worship declines, we can bring a sense of vibrant worship instead to every interaction in our lives.
Think what life would be like if we treated everyone and everything as holy.
Naïve? No doubt. But it’s the kind of world I want to live in. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
And how do I try being that change in the world? Humbly and quietly with my camera. I try to record images that honour the ordinary and bring thoughtful joy to people.
Here are a few examples. I hope you enjoy them. As Winnie The Pooh says, “Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart.”
Dawn at the Belleville VIA station.
Hay Bales Near Wellington
Mail Box, Mink Island Farm
Frances' Fence Shoe
Frances' Spiffy New Bike
Double Wheels North of Belleville
Pink Mirror, Bridge Street, Belleville
Glorious Hosta Leaf