July 02, 2011

Ordinarily - Marcia Lee Laycock

Ordinarily I don't like it when people send me those forwarded-forwarded-forwarded emails. Ordinarily I consider them a waste of time and often delete them without opening them. But lately a dear friend who knows what it's like to be facing an illness like cancer has been sending them regularly. She has picked beautiful pictures, inspirational thoughts and, best of all, laugh-out-loud jokes. I've been reading them and I must admit I've even gotten to the point where I look forward to finding one in my inbox each day.

I guess my idea of wasted time has shifted a bit. I stare out the front window of our home more often, just to watch the wind ripple on the pond across the street - (I call it pondering ;0 ). Each time I walk by them I lean down to smell the flowers my husband bought me last week when I had to spend the day having tests at the hospital. I scratch my cat's ears more than I used to. I stand on our back deck, watch the clouds and listen to the laughter of our neighbour's children. I lay awake in the morning and stare at the outline of my husband's face in the early morning sun. The accumulation of these little things seems to make a difference as life has slowed into a rhythm of waiting.

I've also found that scriptures - those oh-so- familiar passages that can seem trite or even cliché at times - have a whole new depth now that I have a deeper understanding of my need for them. I get regular emails with scripture delivered to my inbox too, and I open them first. The accumulation of verses seems to make a difference when my mood slips a little, when my heart is longing for something beyond this reality to hang onto.

One of the passages that arrived recently was this one from Philippians 4:8 -"whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable ... if anything is excellent or praiseworthy... think about such things."

I noticed there was no action connected to this passage, just thinking. You can do that anytime, anywhere, but to do it deeply you have to slow down a little. You have to pause, perhaps stare out a window at a small pond, and just think.

Ordinarily I wouldn't be doing such things. My life would be bustling with urgencies like deadlines and projects and to-do lists. But there is nothing ordinary about living with cancer. It changes things. It changes you. Ordinarily I would think that a bad thing but now I treasure it. I treasure the tingling awareness of this world now that I now how tenuous my hold on it really is. I treasure the small things, the pondering.

Interesting - I seem to be smiling a lot.


  1. Oh Marcia! My heart goes out to you, and yet how wonderful it is that you can inspire each of us to remember to take time and focus on what really matters. Thank you and bless you.

  2. Such a lovely post... thanks for urging me to savor the moments also. Life is too short to rush through it. Praying often for you...

  3. So glad He's giving you so many 'silver lining' stuff in the midst of that cancer ward wilderness!

    A BIG hug.......

  4. Thanks for the reminder to savor the little things in life. Our family is taking a little more time to do that as well. On Saturday afternoon my husband and four older children were passengers in a van that was hit by a semi. Miraculously, they walked away from the scene with relatively minor injuries!

  5. Thank you Marcia, The monastics have long understood what our harried lives have discounted, that pondering is nothing less than prayer.

  6. Thanks for the reminder to slow down and "smell the roses." We tend to slow down for a while then speed up again.

    We need the reminder often to ponder the ordinary things and their contribution to life.

  7. Oh Marcia. I have tears. I TOTALLY understand your heart message here. I guess you and I fall under the category - 'okay angels...she's not listening...let's use the 2x4!' Sometimes it takes something like cancer to make us slow down and realize God's hand and voice. Truly, I really used to think I knew what 'Be Still and Know that I am God...' meant. But I quickly realized that I did not.
    Treasure those God moments and times where you can ponder and be still. You are a changed person. I can hear it. And I love that you are not wasting your cancer on moaning, shaking your fist at God and wondering - 'why me?' Praying for you, sister! x


Thank you for taking the time to join in the conversation. Our writers appreciate receiving your feedback on posts you have found helpful or meaningful in some way.