My friend, Laura, who is almost solely responsible for my participating in this blog challenge, reminded me early this morning that TODAY is my day. By that, she is referring to my near obsession with the word QUOTIDIAN. I told her that I was tempted to be unpredictable and find a different word, but ultimately I’m just too, well…QUOTIDIAN for that. So, yes, I will take this opportunity to wax once again on the glories of all things QUOTIDIAN, especially the word itself.
I love that the word QUOTIDIAN is itself not QUOTIDIAN. It’s a “Q” word for crying out loud! I can only imagine the things my husband could do with this word in a precisely played Scrabble move. I’m trying to do my part to make it more QUOTIDIAN, as far as common vernacular goes, but that may take some time, as evidenced by the fact that I almost hyperventilate whenever I happen upon it in my QUOTIDIAN reading.
I love that my first (remembered) encounter with the word was when I read an article about a special exhibition here at the Phoenix Art Museum: Rembrandt and the Golden Age of Dutch Art. Considering the exquisite details in this era of art, it is particularly striking that a writer would choose the word QUOTIDIAN in discussing it. But it is precisely because of what is depicted by these artists that makes the word so apropos. (I have previously blogged about Rembrandt’s associations with “common man.”) Besides Rembrandt, one of my favorite Dutch artists is Vermeer. Vermeer excelled at depicting QUOTIDIAN life; e.g., a milkmaid going about her daily tasks.
These type of depictions are especially poignant to me. I remembered transitioning from the hectic and exhilarating life of a successful career woman to the life of a full-time homemaker and stay-at-home mom. Learning to embrace the beauty, the excellence, and the blessedness in the ordinary was key to my contentment and my exceeding thankfulness in this role.
Another friend, upon learning of my extraordinary affinity for the QUOTIDIAN, gave me a little book which I carry around with me in my purse., The Quotidian Mysteries – Laundry, Liturgy and “Women’s Work” by Kathleen Norris. Norris is the kind of woman with whom I could have a cup of coffee while folding a basket of laundry. She “gets” life, and I am reminded of this every time I take her book from my purse and start reading where I left off. Just yesterday I was re-reading her thoughts on “human love,” which she says, “is sanctified not in the height of attraction and enthusiasm but in the everyday struggles of living with another person. It is not in romance but in routine that the possibilities of transformation are made manifest.”
Isn’t this true for other areas of life as well? Several years ago I had a situation with laundry. My washing machine broke, and with a husband and six kids you can only go about two minutes without a washer. My friend, Diane, rescued me by offering to do a few loads for me, and in accepting this offer of help, I experienced one of those “sanctified routines.” It is humbling to have even the best of friends handle your dirty clothes. I remember thinking, “Well, I really don’t want her to have to wash our underwear…” But we needed underwear! What is more QUOTIDIAN than underwear?
In another place in her book, Norris says, ” …the aesthetic sensibility is attuned to the sacramental possibility in all things.” Even underwear? Yes, and milk and bread, and…
QUOTIDIAN – occurring every day;
belonging to every day; common place, ordinary