Nothing particularly noteworthy happened yesterday.
There were no great tragedies, no brown paper packages wrapped up in string, nothing that could be described as really bad news, or really good.
There was work: study and preparation for Sunday, visitation of members, a committee meeting. I bought a newspaper and a new book to read. I had a couple of conversations on the way with people I knew. I met a few new people.
Not a bad day, just ordinary.
Recently, son Ben mentioned the ordinariness of his day, only he referred to them as somewhat forgettable; again, not necessarily bad days, just days that pass without particular note.
We tend to take the mundane for granted. But, it is often the mundane that is most sorely missed when it is lost. Spend an unwanted day or two in the hospital, or deal with a breakdown of some sort in the house or with the car and you’ll quickly grasp the precious heart of the ordinary.
“I would be drinking a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper right now if I weren’t here.”
“I would be getting ready to go to the office right now if I wasn’t waiting on a repairman.”
“I normally get out of school at this point in the afternoon.”
I sometimes think about the unwanted changes in routine forced on those who endured or are enduring warfare. I wonder what the citizens of Holland thought about the Nazi occupation of their country?
“They’ve ruined everything. I would be on my way to work if they hadn’t closed my office. I would be reading the newspaper if they hadn’t taken control of the press.”
Or the people of Sudan: “I would love to just bathe my children and put them to bed tonight, but we’re refugees now. I don’t even have a bed or a bath or any clean water to bathe them with. One of my children is missing. He was captured and forced to carry a gun. He’s only 13. I have no idea where he is.”
Or consider the plight of women in Iran who yesterday voted to oust a genuine tyrant from the president’s office. One woman complained, “I feel terror every second that I am on the street because of the morality police.” Why can’t I just go to the market to buy bread the way I used to?
It is the stability of our government that makes the mundane so reliable. When the armed forces guard our borders, when the police enforce the laws of our community then life is mundane. When our city councillors try to find the best way to manage our tax money; when there is a just foundation of law upon which consent to live, life is mundane. When honest people try to provide good leadership, life is mundane.
Britain has been complaining fervently about its government for months now. Americans griped about Bush for eight years. Now, they are complaining about “Comrade Obama” and his socialist policies.
True, governments, and the individuals who govern, are anything but perfect. They are vulnerable to the temptations of office and the abuse of power. Like all of us, they are inclined towards greed, selfishness and laxity in the execution of their duties. But, thank God they are trying. Thank God that many of them are devoted servants. Thank God that so many are really trying to create a better society.
Thank God that life is pretty mundane most of the time.