Part of growing up at any age is recognizing the extraordinary in the ordinary activities of life. While reading recently, I find myself resonating with the following words in “Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another “ from Rowan Williams: “Here we are daily, not necessarily attractive and saintly people, along with other not very attractive and saintly people, managing the plain prose of our everyday service, deciding daily to recognize the prose of ourselves and each other as material for something unimaginably greater…”.
Why did I resonate? I used to fantasize about how life would be grand when I reached a certain goal or a certain age or a certain position. The unstated assumption in this fantasy was that life isn’t okay right now, just as it is, and this had the consequence of causing me to live in that fantasy future in which all that ails me will be set right when………… How would you fill in the blank?
What I have discovered is that joy and fulfillment are available in each moment when I approach life with a grateful heart. I am so inclined to take for granted life itself, but when I look more closely, I see what a miracle it is. The self-organizing, self-repairing body-system is a miracle beyond understanding. There are so many factors that must be in alignment to support life that it would seem improbable on first glance. However, my observation is that most of us simply accept life as nothing special or extraordinary, and in doing so overlook what is perhaps our greatest gift. And so it is with having children, or a relationship, or best friends, or…………….
As I see it an important part of growing up is being in the present moment, being mindful. There are many avenues to increased mindfulness including meditation, centering prayer, and chanting or sounding. Becoming more mindful is part of the process of introspection and self-identity. With clarity about self-identity, it becomes possible to have a life in which there is coherence between who one is and what one does in the world. Work becomes an expression of one’s identity, a sign that one has indeed grown up.