Nitty Gritty

life is full of routine and chaos
it pendulum-swings from ordinary to remarkable.
the problem is
we are often so lulled by the gentle pendulum swing
that we don’t recognize it as noteworthy

whether your day is directed by a toddler
a job outside your home
days among the halls of learning in an institution of education
a parent you may be caring for who is homebound
a volunteer schedule
a house full of children you are schooling
or an empty nest
it is probably, for the most part, routine or even monotonous
at least, for you

Jody Ferlaak wrote on her blog, Nitty Gritty, about routine on October 24, 2007.
I read her post (here) and gave thanks.
I gave thanks for ordinary, routine and run of the mill.
I gave thanks for school books scattered across the breakfast table,
a dirty bathroom and shoes by the door.
I gave thanks that I was at home with my children…
living beside them, watching them grow,  seeing them stretch…
and even getting angry or frustrated with them.
I gave thanks because these emotions meant that I was living with them
and they were alive and healthy.

my calendar - with jody's words held safely to be seen

Read Jody’s story.  She and her family were enjoying breakfast one weekend morning  when a distraught young woman ran her car through the wall and into the booth in which Jody and her family were sitting.  With her family scattered around the room, she found one child pinned to the wall in her car seat.  Each family member was wounded.  And she lost a daughter that day.

But, she chooses joy.  She chooses to focus on the blessings.
And she cherishes the ordinary –
because she realizes that there is no such thing.
Every day is a gift.
Every day is special.
Every moment is a present.

As I read, I was most moved by one sentence.
I copied her quote and slipped it in the front of my calendar.
I glance at that type daily as I gently open my ring binder each night before bed
when I scan the 2″ square that is a snippet of my day ahead.
But, sometimes I stop and read those words in amber once again.

The quote from that blog post says:

“I cooked dinner last night with a knot in my throat,
not because this amazing moment was somehow ‘tainted’ by our tragedy…
but rather because it would have been practically meaningless
without it.”

Jody rejoiced on October 5, 2007 when sweet Wyndham said “Momma.”
Wyndham spoke. And Jody rejoiced.

To think that there are days when I wish my home were quiet.
Oh, that I would live a life of gratitude for every simple gift….
every glass left on the counter,
the remote control left on the coffee table
rather than put into the cabinet where it belongs,
the puppy-dog tumbleweeds that are vacuumed up
more slowly than they are formed,
the frisbee on the table,
the dirty towel on the bathroom floor …
loud music, slamming doors and, yes,
to hear the word “momma” roll from the lips of my children.

And so, Jody reminds me to be grateful.
I’m thankful for the years that I had at home.
I’m thankful for children who are healthy and strong
and will recover from our current common tragedy of divorce
by being stronger, more compassionate, loving people…
and I have faith in this because I am praying fervently for it.
I’m thankful for HOPE that pays for college,
for pets who keep me entertained …
for pet hair tumbleweeds, sunshine and supple, beautiful mushrooms.
I choose to be grateful. I choose to rejoice.

When it comes down to the nitty gritty,
let us choose to be thankful
even for the gifts that are painful to accept
and that we would recognize
the ordinary, everyday and common
as a stunning and beautiful.


7 thoughts on “Nitty Gritty

  1. Karen, I continue to pray for you and the children, and yes, for Comedy–who has no IDEA what he is doing. (I pray very similarly to you for him.) When I read this bittersweet post just now, these are the verses that came to my mind:

    2: Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.

    3: You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.

    4: So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

    5: If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.

    ~~James 1:2-5, The Message

    Count it ALL joy…the rendition we’re familiar with…transitions to “Consider it a sheer gift”…yes, ‘even for the gifts that are painful to accept’, as you wrote. And I really felt that Vs. 3, in a very positive way, describes your own faith life. ITs ‘true colors’–which are strong and rich and deep, in Christ.

    Thank you for this poignant reminder to be thankful for it ALL!



  2. Thank you Karen for taking the pain and joys of your life and transforming them into opportunities to communicate the hope we have in Jesus our Christ. Which is the bestest and goodest news that ever has been shared in this universe!


  3. Thanks Bron for posting this. I needed to hear it again today, I am reading through the Message slowly these days to get a new translaiton that is new and fresh in my heart. My heart struggles more days then not lately. My faith is faulting and I am so hard on myself for that. I need to give myself much grace and tenderness but I have seemed to forget how to do that. I am not 4 years past separation and divorce now. I am over the relationship with the fomrer husband but my heart still hurts as his lack of concern, support and involvement in the girls lives (ages 18 in 2 weeks, 13 and 8). I beam with pride with what the girls have accomplished and know deep down that they know and are grateful for the sacrifices that I have made. The loneliness overcomes me sometimes. The every day routine does too. But there are moments like last night looking over graduation announcements and stuff that make it all worth it. I guess I just needed to express my humanness and weaknesses today. Thanks for sharing ladies.


  4. You have surely blessed me today. You are constantly teaching me and helping me grow by the character you maintain through the trials that you are going through and have endured in the past. Thank you, my friend.


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