five-minute friday: ordinary

On Fridays, a bunch of brave writers gather over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog, to all spend 5 collective minutes writing on a single prompt. You can check out her blog for info on how it works and then consider giving it a go yourself! Five minutes. No self-editing. Just real stuff. I never read other posters before I go - makes it to difficult to hear my own words. So here I am for this week’s post, writing on ordinary. I may have taken a leeeeeetle longer than five minutes. And I'm taking a break from my 31 Days series for this post. ...................

five-minute friday: ordinary || sarahsandel.com

Ordinary? There's no such thing.

When I was seven years old, I wrote a poem that was published in a small collection of elementary school children's poetry. It was rhythmic and sing-song and just about as good as any seven year old poet can do, I guess. I remember it:

May is my favorite time of the year, So I don't cry or have a tear - in fact, it causes me to cheer!

What are the reasons I like it so? The beach is a place I like to go, And I like to watch the flowers grow!

My birthday comes in the month of May, It's a very pleasant day - and makes me happy all the way!

The weather's fine, there's lots to do, You might even take a trip to the zoo.

That's why I like it! How about you?

 

I know. A literary prodigy. I don't remember my actual spelling or grammar, but let us presume they were on point. Although, possibly, there were more exclamation points.

Shortly after that little book was published and we received a copy, I began receiving in the mail handwritten letters from famous poets. For months on end, I'd go to the mailbox and maybe once a week would find a typed or handwritten note for me from the likes of Ogden Nash, Anon E. Mous, Robert Frost, Rudyard Kipling and others. The poets skillfully praised my accomplishment and encouraged me to keep writing, usually enclosing copies of their own favorite poems for my perusal and inspiration. Can we just say? I. Was. Delighted. It did not occur to me immediately that most, if not all, of these letters were posthumous and that all of them were postmarked from the same location. It just occurred to me that some small, ordinary thing I'd done was being loved and cherished and praised by people who did it better than I did!

At some point later on, it clicked or I finally deciphered his handwriting and realized (or was told) that my darling grandfather had been responsible for the entire correspondence. He'd carefully clipped copies of poems, written and mailed me letters for weeks on end. I'd thrilled to each one and knew that something special was taking place.

As an adult, I recognize that one of the great gifts in my family is that we know how to celebrate one another. I had, without doubt, a halcyon childhood, though as a little girl I would have deemed it ordinary. But that is the thing of it. Ordinary becomes extraordinary in my family, because we do it well and with great love. Ordinary celebrations become a stage on which to pay tribute and showcase our passions. Ordinary weekends become living movie musicals, because we can. Ordinary stories take on great depth and become multi-faceted, reflecting fantastic, beautiful sides of us - the smooth and shiny, the rough edges, the harsh scrapes, and the sparkly bits, all stuck together with this great faith in Almighty God and unconditional love for one another.

Ordinary poetry became a grandiose accomplishment because my Papa celebrated it.

And that's how I came to learn that there is no such thing as ordinary.