Monday, June 9

The beauty of being ordinary

Make the Ordinary Come Alive
Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples, and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.
William Martin wrote these words. Numerous people--including some of my kids--have quoted them. I had never seen them until yesterday. I wish I'd written them, because I think they're brilliant.
I don't know if I raised my kids this way, and I'm not one to judge because, of course, they were always extraordinary to me. Still are. But this poem explained something to me about why I write and read the things I do. Why I am often unmoved by books with alpha heroes and "spunky" heroines and massive wealth. Why beautiful heroines sometimes make me do the so-so sawing motion with my hand and heroes without flaws will make me resort to watching "Big Bang Theory" reruns because, you know, I love Leonard. Even though he's short and lactose intolerant.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with all these things--there isn't. But neither is there anything wrong with the hero from next door who wears glasses, or the heroine with ten extra pounds on each hip, or the protagonists who live in old farmhouses and pay mortgages and drop their loose change into Salvation Army buckets. These people who populate some of my books and many, many of the ones I love have made the ordinary come alive for me. They've made it extraordinary.

The poem is contained in William Martin's book, The Parent's Tao Te Ching. (available anywhere). You can learn more about him and his work at  http://www.taoiststudies.com

32 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hi, Cheryl. Your people are some of the ones I love best.

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  2. Great post! I love that William Martin quote. I write paranormal which is often in conflict with the "ordinary," but sometimes the ordinary need to escape and dream of being extraordinary. At least I do! :-)

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    1. Isn't it great? I couldn't believe I'd never seen it before!

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  3. Your characters have never seemed 'ordinary' to me, Liz, and I think it's because you draw them so well. Those 10 extra pounds or the guy with glasses are real and real is extraordinary, I think.

    And I have the love for Leonard, too...I think we're all a little geeky at heart.

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    1. I think you're right about real being extraordinary. I love living in a time when geeky is good. :)

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  4. For me, the taste of tomatoes is extra ordinary, the feel of a merry go round, the way I feel during a good conversation, and when I cry; all extra ordinary. Miracles can happen and for that LIFE is extra ordinary. Very nice post Liz.

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  5. Hi, Liz
    just discovered your blog [it's lovely, the colors so vivid]. I'll be back.
    another TWRP author, Veronica Lynch

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    1. Thanks for coming, Veronica--we'll be glad to see you whenever you come by!

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  6. How extraordinary your words are this morning, Liz. Thank you...and yes, a thousand times, yes!

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  7. Super post, Liz, and I couldn't agree more! There is such beauty in the ordinary person.

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    1. There is, and even though we all know it, I think we forget it, too. Mr. Martin's words were a wonderful reminder for me.

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  8. I had never read that quote before, either, and it really hits home. I'm definitely at a stage in life where I want to appreciate the beauty and value of the "ordinary" around me every day.

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    1. I'm there with you, Alison, and it is a particularly special time for the ordinary (which isn't at all), isn't it?

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  9. Well stated, Liz! You totally nailed it. Bravo!

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    1. Thanks, Jim. I almost feel like I'm cheating, because Mr. Martin's words are the ones that made it so clear. But today I'm kind of basking in ordinariness--and loving it. :-)

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  10. What a neat post, Liz. I'd never read that poem, either! Well done. Barb Bettis

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  11. You cannot read this poem once. It requires study and thought. I'm going to give it to my pregnant granddaughter in a frame. Thanks for sharing. <3

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    1. Great idea. It is deceptively simple, isn't it?

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  12. I don't know if I passed along this message to my kids either. Probably not. I hope I let them know it's important not to dismiss everyday things. Thank you for this posting this today.

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    1. On my husband's computer...thanks for coming, Jana. I think, watching my kids with their kids, it was a lesson they learned, but I don't know that it was from me. :-)

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  13. Love this! I think the reason drug/alcohol use runs rampant is that people forget to enjoy the ordinary--and don't appreciate when the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

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  14. Great post! And I so agree. As parents, my husband and I have always followed the mandate, Keep It Simple. We believe that learning to master that concept will give us and our family an extraordinary life. Being content and happy with the simple, basic elements of life, we've had the time and energy to explore and appreciate so much more than if we'd been constantly striving for something better or extraordinary. Thanks for posting this.
    Can New York financial executive, Victoria Ballard, survive a forced marriage with a Middle Eastern Prince?

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    1. Thank you, Linda. I admit to coming late to the "Keep it Simple" party, but I'm glad to have arrived. :-)

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  15. Sorry I missed this yesterday because this is a fabulous post, Liz. There is something to be said about ordinary. I need to enjoy ordinary a lot more.

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    1. Thanks, Shawn. It's something good to remember.

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  16. Enjoyed the post! This is something I needed to read.

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