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Granddaughter, Ordinary Soccer Kick?
“[W]alking down a street, sweeping a floor, washing dishes, hoeing beans, reading a book, taking a stroll in the woods-all can be enriched with contemplation and with the obscure sense of the presence of God.” — Thomas Merton, The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation, William H. Shannon, editor, Harper, San Francisco, 2003; p 66
Thomas Merton has a way of writing about ordinary things and making them extraordinary. Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker admired St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower for how she did ordinary everyday things and made them holy. Dorothy called it the “Little Way”.
Children, for me, are very good for reminding us how ordinary things can be exciting. While I was working on the front yard garden today my six year old neighborhood came home from school. Immediately he jumped on his scooter and went over to see if his friend, neighbor on the other side, was home. He was not so he came back and asked if could help in the garden. I had him use a pitchfork to dig up some weeds in the front raised garden area to prepare the ground for planting. He was fascinated by what he found in the ground, ‘rollies’ as he called them, little bugs that roll up in a ball. He told me that in school he was studying shadows and space. I thought he meant shadows in space and asked him about them. He pointed to his shadow on the ground and said that was what he meant by shadows and how space was something out there in the cosmos. He added that he did not want to be an astronaut but wanted to study space.
Last night my eight year old granddaughter called up to remind me that I was a chaperone for her third grade class that was coming to Milwaukee for a visit to the Milwaukee Museum. She was excited about the trip to the museum even though my wife and I with her and her two brothers recently visited the Milwaukee museum. She told me that I could wear bright clothes in the butterfly area since she was no longer afraid of butterflies. She told me each child was bringing their own lunch. I said I would bring lunch and a piece of fresh pita read I had just purchased, something I know she really likes. She was excited about my bringing the pita bread.
Ordinary things are exciting for children of all ages but for many with education they are just ordinary things.