Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Magic of Ordinary Days

I love to watch the snow fall on an early winter morning just as the sun is starting to rise. I sit on my sofa with the blinds open and a glass of hot chocolate (with a little bit of vanilla ice cream on top) and just watch the snow float gracefully to the ground. My chances to do this are pretty fleeting so on the rare occasions where I get to watch the snow drift, I'm forever happy.

The novel, "The Magic of Ordinary Days" reminded me of one of my own personal "magics". Those ordinary activities turned extraordinary because of time, place, and mind. Those chances we have, when we're paying attention, to be truly happy, content and in love with life. Whether it's watching the snow, the contagious laugh of a child, or being curled up in bed with a good book, we all have the opportunity to find contentment and peace in our lives. As a line from the text tells us, "Sometimes you do find what you're looking for closer than you think."

On the flip side, we've probably all been faced with a similar situation as Livvy, the main character in the book. We might not have gotten ourselves in "trouble" as she did, but we've all found ourselves in uncommon surroundings sometimes out of our control. The key to surviving these situations, however big or small, seems to be looking for life in a barren land...trying to find the good in the bad...forging relationships out of seemingly nothing because one day, those relationships might save us.

The story, set to a back-drop of World War II shares with us not only a glimpse into history, but a love story for the ages. A young girl, finding that her "love", a soldier about to be sent to Europe to fight a war he probably wouldn't come home from, gives of herself in a way she imagined would be forever. That act left her in trouble, alone, and shunned from her family, sent far away from home to make as much of a respectable existence as possible by marrying a shy, seemingly innocent farmer. The story unfolds with us watching (in our minds anyway) the slow progression to love and safety that Livvy makes towards Ray. In the end, truly falling in love with him, forgiving herself, and making a new life for herself and her new little family.

What is so lovely about this story? Ray. The farmer. He decided to love Livvy regardless of circumstance, regardless of whether or not she loves him back, and regardless of the fact that she'd forgotten how to love herself. When Livvy says to Ray, "Do you love me just because I came here?" he replies, "I love you because you came here to me."

This was a sweet, unassuming novel about some of the things that are important in life. Our friends, our family, our history, and most importantly finding the people to share it all with.

FYI: Hallmark turned "The Magic of Ordinary Days" into a made for TV movie. It's a little corny, but you can watch the whole thing in 15 segments on YouTube if you want. Skeet Ulrich is "Ray". He's much more attractive than the Ray I pictured in my head.