Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Sameness of Days

I think most of our days are ordinary and filled with the dull job of simply living ordinary lives. Special days like Christmas, birthdays, births, death, the radiant changing leaves and blossoming flowers only come once a year. I used to want Christmas to be all year long because people are in better moods but then I realized that if we had the holidays all year, they would no longer be special. These events become special because they are rare and we need to really treasure them as such when we are living through them.

It is up to us to find contentment (the word I'd rather use than happiness) in our day-to-day lives. Some years back, before widowhood, I read the suggestion to find joy while doing the dishes. I totally scoffed at the notion. Then in grad school I had a wise professor who used to always say that the best part of life was in the process, not the end result. The process or what we are going through ends up being ultimately more valuable. She was referring to our education vs. the degree and again I couldn't really understand what she meant.

I do get it now. Maybe having been widowed and now as someone who has lived up to middle age. But I see that it has to do with valuing all of our days and not just the ones off in the future that we think are most special - weddings, graduations, school dances, vacations. Our lives are made up of a whole lot more ordinary days than special ones. Filled with a lot more drudgery like doing dishes than going off on the town.

How does all this relate to widowhood and life? I guess I'm just trying to do the best I can even under strife and difficulty to be more fully present in the here and now. To appreciate every day and to make the smallest moments count.


  1. I hate doing dishes!! It is one of the most tedious jobs around the house, but it is one that also gives me time to reflect about my life. When I live in my mother-in-law's house in the late 80's, I would dream about my own house with a window above the kitchen sink that would allow me to watch my children while they were playing in the backyard. We got our house, but in 2001, lost it, and went to live in a trailer. For years, I would wash dishes, but it looked out into the living room, and I could watch TV, but that wasn't a time for reflection. My husband passed away last year, and now I am renting a house with my children, and once again, have a window over my kitchen sink. I see my neighbor's houses, and cars going by. I watch the leaves falling from the trees, and the kids playing in the nearby yards. I can reflect how my life has change, and the lessons that I am learning along the way.
    My life now is uneventful. I should be thankful because this past year has been anything but uneventful. I am afraid of the sameness because I don't want my life to go by without something to look forward to. I can't even think of what I want yet (maybe I am not ready for exciting). So, for now, I am going to heal, rest, and dream. That is enough for now.
    Thanks for listening!!

  2. Jeanne - I too have had that dream of a window to look out of while doing dishes. I had one in my home but not here at the apartment. I ended up finding a painted window scene that I bought some years ago at a flea market for $3.00. I'm planning to hang it up at the sink so I have the illusion of a window.

    I still deal with a great deal of shame and sadness about losing my home. I feel as though I am a failure for having to move to an apartment in the "bad" side of town. These days what I most long for again is a small house with a small yard where I can garden. I know that I will never undertake living in a home again if I remain single because it was very difficult for me to maintain the yard on my own.

    I think your plan of healing, resting and dreaming is a fine one. I think we need to concentrate on ourselves and doing things that nurture our souls and make us happy. It is not easy going on having lost husbands, homes and standards of living. I am grateful I even have a roof over my head right now for the boys and I but it still hurts realizing where we came from and what used to be. Thank you for listening too and let me know what new perceptions come up for you in time.