“Mom, what special thing are we going to do today? What special treat do you have for us?” Ever since the holidays, I’ve been hearing these questions almost daily. And quite frankly, I’m tired of “special.” So we had a season of “special.” And it was lovely. Extended family visits, time off work and school, road trips, Christmas goodies, presents. It’s easy to settle into “special” and expect it to last forever. But alas, January arrives. The Christmas lights come down. Family has to go home. All the cookies have been eaten. And it’s time to return to “normal.” Personally, I was relieved to get back into our regular routine and re-discover the rhythms that keep us grounded. Too much “special” can sometimes ruin us for the daily.
This has clearly happened with my children. It’s nearly February now, and they are still asking about presents, treats, and special outings. When I announce that the day will consist of school, supper, and baths, you would think that I just revoked a long-awaited trip to Disney World. The disappointed protests are always the same: “But Mom, that’s not even special!” Is this phenomenon reserved for the young? I don’t believe so. So many of us live our lives from one “special” thing to the next. We set our sights on the next novel experience and count down the days until it arrives. The young and the old alike can get wrapped up in this trap of discontentment. And that’s exactly what it is. Let’s think about this for a moment. When we value only the “special” days (holidays, birthdays, date nights, vacations, anniversaries, shopping trips, etc.), we are basically saying that our ability to enjoy life is dependent on those exceptional experiences. We are believing that we must endure the “regular” days, weeks, and months, in order to finally enjoy those brief moments of pleasure.
Have we subtly convinced ourselves that the vast majority of our time here on earth is going to be dull and joyless? That we only get to enjoy a small percentage of our overall life experience? I sure hope not! When we are so focused on the next “special,” we miss out on the value and beauty of the daily. The smell of freshly-brewed coffee in your favorite mug. A timely word of encouragement from your daily devotional. A hot shower on a cold morning. The unconstrained belly-laugh of a child. Those favorite jeans that miraculously still fit. Singing loudly in the car. Making time to read for pleasure. Noticing a breath-taking sunset. Crawling into bed at the end of a busy day. The majority of our lives look something like this. Most of our moments don’t include a tropical vacation, party, or major event. Can we enjoy them anyway? Of course!
[box] Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.[/box]
Yes, even THIS day. This work day, this school day, this busy day, this regular day. This uneventful Monday in late January. The Lord made it, and He gave it to us as a gift. We can and WILL intentionally find the joy in this day and be glad in it! We get to choose how much of this life we will enjoy. The special days and the regular moments. They are beautiful. And perhaps, if we look closely enough, we will realize that they are all special.