Monday, December 27, 2010

Reverb 10: Day 27 - Ordinary Joy

Today's Reverb 10 prompt:

December 27 – Ordinary Joy

Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?

(Author: Brené Brown)

Ordinary Joy.

It should be an easy theme for me.  It's basically what I make a list about each evening when I write the daily 5.  (In fact, today's daily 5 in my iphone, just waiting to be transferred to the blog, is filled with very ordinary joys from the last 24 hours or so.) defines ordinary as, "of no special quality or interest; commonplace; unexceptional."

I thought quite a bit today about what moment I was going to use here tonight.

I have two.

The first is an afternoon spent in a bookstore.  It was only a few hours really.  A brief stop on a road trip home from Ontario, with my dad, and my baby brother and his wife of approximately two weeks.

Dad and I planned the stop before we ever left Calgary to drive in the opposite direction.  I had the address for this store written in my little notebook, so that Emily, the GPS lady, could guide us directly there.  It was the destination we set when we left my sister-in-law's childhood home and headed back towards our own city.

The store is basically a clearing house for seconds from two big Christian publishing houses - slightly damaged or off-kilter or slightly misprinted books, still perfectly good, but not saleable to retailers, sold for a pittance.  

It's heaven for a book lover, and my dad, brother and I were in bliss.  Dad and my brother were busy stocking up on commentaries for their professional libraries, while I happily searched shelves with the joyful ease of one who is convinced that heaven will look and smell like a bookstore.  We shared finds, bought a few duplicates, adding multiple volumes to each of our libraries, and just generally baffled my poor sister-in-law, who enjoys reading, but perhaps not to the same book nerdish extent of her new husband and some of his family members.  It was delightful.  Such a simple activity that it was ordinary, and completely out of the ordinary at the same time, since we likely won't be back in that place for a long time.

The other afternoon I'm thinking of happened in California in the fall.  After a full morning of church related activities, we spent the afternoon comfortably, in pajamas, sorting a giant bucket of the little metal monopoly tokens that had been given to my friend for sale in the Sunday school rewards store.  Basically, we spent the afternoon laughing, talking, taking turns picking questions to mutually answer from a book full of fascinating prompts.  It was perhaps one of my favorite parts of that trip, because it was simple.  We weren't touring around or doing anything extravagant or unique to that area, we were just getting to know each other better, enjoying each others company without pretense, resting, talking and laughing.

I suppose it's not all that ordinary to sort a giant bucket full of thousands of monopoly pieces, laughing and exclaiming over some of the stranger ones, and some of the funny ones, but the afternoon felt ordinary, natural, and beautiful.

And perhaps that's the key to ordinary joy.  It's certainly the key to the things that make my daily 5 lists night after night.  They are the things that may or may not happen regularly, but seem natural, and beautiful and carry smiles and laughter and joy within them.