mundane magical love story

I used to have days where I thought the crumbs on the kitchen counter multiplied prolifically on their own whenever I turned my back.

Crumbs on the counter were a slow form of torture for me…signifying the work of running a household that would never be completed…

…could never be completed because the household was a living breathing hive of activity that would go from breakfast to snack to lunch to more snacks and so on, creating more mess on the counter seemingly within moments of the last time I wiped it. Some days it seemed those crumbs might push me over the edge…and although it is clear exaggeration now as I write this, it didn’t feel like hyperbole when I felt my frustration at the time.

This morning, one of our staff was in tears. A friend of her young adult son dropped dead, suddenly, inexplicably, without warning as he was going his most ordinary day. Her son’s world is rocked…death isn’t supposed to happen to a very young adult like that. There was reminiscing about all the ordinariness of hanging out at the community club together, of baseball games and hockey rinks.

There were tears over the hole now created in the life of the mother of the boy. What would she do with Christmas gifts purchased for her son who will now be buried by Christmas?

Then I showed her what came in the mail today and she really started to weep:


Bergen and Associates Couseling has put up a poster by Kal Barteski on the wonderful mundaneness of life on our bulletin board
The idea of all the mundane chores and all the buzz of life that will no longer be in the mom’s life now that her son was gone made for an incredibly sad reading of this poster by my colleague. The holes created by the loss are huge.

I ordered this poster a coupla weeks ago. I liked it. Going to share it on our bulletin board at the office for a while. Then I’ll take it home and put it up in my hallway so I see it when I walk in the house or every time I walk up the stairs.

  • I’ll spot it as I trip over a gym bag or a shoe not put away in the hallway.

  • I’ll scan it when I look at the homework left out on the table or see the splash of mud on the floor when somebody didn’t take their shoes off.

  • I’ll skim it when somebody lopes through the hallway to grab another cookie, or comes down the stairs asking about a shirt that is desperately needed and can’t be located.

  • I’ll notice it when someone comes in complaining because their feet are so cold from sledding too long down the hill.

  • My eyes will go over it as I run downstairs to see what the “big crash” in the kitchen was this time.

And I’ll be grateful for the buzz of regular boring, messy, monotonous life because it holds a treasure that today I don’t take for granted.

And it won’t be far from sight or from mind when I choose to take a deep breath and be incredibly grateful for the crumbs that have magically and mysteriously appeared on my counter.  And I will remember and be grateful for the love story that unfolds itself each day in my house as we live and love, grumble and laugh, complain and revel, celebrate and grieve.

We go about our days which are extraordinarily ordinary.  As we live the most ordinary but extraordinarily wonderful love story.

So…I put this poster on the bulletin board at work. It wasn’t up 15 minutes before someone who came into the office asked where I got it from so they could order one too. I told her I got it from Kal Barteski’s website, [i] LoveLife.

I dunno, but maybe she needs another way to look at the crumbs on her counter. too.

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