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Sunday: Celebrating the Ordinary

Sunday, August 26, 2012

©Brenda Coffee. All rights reserved.

For most of my life my camera has been an appendage I’ve rarely been without, but since James died, it has languished, unused, in the bottom of my purse. The fact that my camera’s been relegated to a purse is extraordinary in and of itself, especially considering that until a few years ago, I rarely owned or carried a purse... only camera cases.<PREVIEWEND>

Recently, however, when friends came to visit, I pulled my neglected camera out of my bag. It felt good to have a camera in my hands, again. It was particularly timely because my friend, Marie, has challenged her fellow breast cancer bloggers to capture, in photographs, the ordinary things around them and post them to their blog each day for a week. While I may not post everyday, I’ve accepted Marie’s challenge. So, dear readers, this means you’ll be hearing from me a lot this week.

One of the places I took my friends, and my camera, was to Mission San Jose, an historic compound many of us locals take for granted. While it may have become commonplace for many, it is anything but ordinary. Mission San Jose was a walled community built in 1720, on the banks of the San Antonio River. To see it now, lovingly restored, it’s easy to imagine it as a bustling outpost on the Spanish frontier. Inside high stone walls, Franciscan missionaries worked to convert 350 indigenous Indians to Christianity, while outside the walls, residents built an aqueduct, tended crops, worked in the granary, raised livestock and defended themselves against marauding Apaches and Comanches.

Even though the Mission was at the very core of their ability to survive, I can’t help but wonder if the residents got so they took their Mission for granted? How quickly did they forget the hardships of living in thatch and mud structures, trying to survive on their own? After a while, it’s easy to take even the most splendid of surroundings for granted. They become commonplace and ordinary, making it easier for us to focus on their flaws and shortcomings.

This week, my camera will no longer be the thing that makes my purse heavy. Instead, it will go back to being a creative part of my heart and soul; the way I celebrate and separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.

Is there something, or someone, you’ve taken for granted? Perhaps it’s time to celebrate what’s become ordinary in your life, especially if it’s life itself.


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