Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mundane and miraculous

Life feels rather mundane lately.
And also miraculous.
And marvelous.

Jena wrote it so well and inspired me to take a new look at my own life.

I am coming to appreciate this little life of mine in new ways.
My mellow, often unplanned days.
my unnecessarily late nights.
my bi-weekly travels to the supermarket.
my romantic movie collection.
my loopy handwriting filling countless journal pages.
my solo tea parties of Teavana favorites.
sneaking out before the kids wake up to get bagels for breakfast.
having a few close buddies, a handful of sister-friends, who listen to my travails without judging me, dismissing me, or trying to fix me immediately.

I am insatiably curious about the world and its people. I once sat with 10 immigrant friends and asked each of them to tell me how they ended up here. They loved telling their stories, and I loved hearing every single one. Unfortunately, I think I have driven some people out of my life because I asked them too many questions.

I am deeply fascinated with the lives and love and laughter of my children. They interrupt each other constantly in order to tell me their tall tales and short stories. More than once, I have awoken to find one of them standing at my side of the bed, staring down at me. As soon as they see my eyes open, they begin a story about a dream from the night before or a plan for the day just begun.

And I am extremely sad at saying farewell to a dear friend who is moving to India on Thursday. Traveling mercies, Moneesha, Anya, and Amit. I miss you already.

As I write this I am lying on the floor of my bedroom alternating between "The Biggest Loser" on tv and "The English Patient" in the DVD player. My husband and children are downstairs in the family room hanging out. Why aren't we together? Because they understand that I need time alone at the end of the day. They understand that their mundane mother finds solo time to be miraculously rejuvenating.

On the last page of the last story in her Pulitzer Prize winning book of short stories called Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri wrote words of wisdom that captured my heart the first time I read them.

The main character of that story entitled "The Third and Final Continent," describes his arrival to the United States from India, his arranged marriage, and the life he and his wife establish in the Boston area. After driving his family past the house he lived in many years before, he looked at his young son's face and reflected:

"In my son's eyes I see the ambition that had first hurled me across the world. In a few years he will graduate and pave his way, alone and unprotected. But I remind myself that he has a father who is still living, a mother who is happy and strong. Whenever he is discouraged, I tell him that if I can survive on three continents, then there is no obstacle he cannot conquer. While the astronauts, heroes forever, spent mere hours on the moon, I have remained in this new world for nearly thirty years. I know that my achievement is quite ordinary. I am not the only man to seek his fortune far from home, and certainly I am not the first.

"Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination


Amy said...

Think about the many times Jesus had to go to deserted places. We re-connect with our centers there!

I love that quote at the end. I was just thinking yesterday about the rooms in my life I'd like to re-visit, and I think I'll write a post about them later.

So did you choose "The English Patient?"

jena strong said...

Love, from one ordinary question asker solor-time taker Jhumpa Lahiri reader mama listener to another.