I wrote this morning about Kathleen Norris’ The Quotidian Mysteries. Part of Norris’ point is that creative thoughts often arise in the mundane details of life. While folding laundry, an idea pops into her head for a poem, or she remembers that she wanted to write a friend a note, or she recall the words of a Psalm and considers them anew. These things happen for me. I enjoy solitude. On a Myers Briggs test, I split right down the extrovert/introvert line. I get energy from people, but I also draw energy from time all by myself.
But I’ve had too much time alone this year. We moved to Connecticut, and so we left behind 7 years of relationships at work, school, and church. The weather plus pregnancy pushed us inside for much of the winter. And now, with Marilee needing me more or less around the clock, I still feel somewhat homebound (although spring makes it so much better, doesn’t it?).
I’ve been thinking lately that one of the blessings of quotidian life–every day life, life in laundry and taking out the trash and cooking dinner–quotidian life is not blessed only in the solitude and contemplation that it affords. Solitude can easily lead to loneliness. It is also a blessing to live the quotidian life in community. I can’t email while holding Marilee or changing her diaper or folding her clothes. But I can easily attend to those everyday tasks while talking with a friend who is in the room with me. I can’t really talk on the phone while Penny and William run around the yard. But I can chat with another parent from our neighborhood as our kids kick balls and run and jump and every so often need our attention.
Quotidian actions fill my days, and I am trying to be attentive to and grateful for the rhythms of life with a newborn. And yet I long for more of those moments to be ones that extend beyond my own thoughts, my own creativity, my own memory. I trust it is a holy longing, to share the ins and outs of household work with others, to watch our children grow together, to experience the quotidian in community.