My Life…in Mediocrity

When my tour group stepped off the bus in front of the Louvre, we were already running dreadfully behind. The tour guide called out, “You only have an hour to look around! If you want to see the Mona Lisa, you’ll have to go straight there!”

So, there I was, a teenage girl, running through the halls of the Louvre until my chest burned and sides ached. I’m not a runner and the Louvre is bigger than I imagined. The grand arched hallways are impossibly high and every inch of wall space is covered with art. I sped by hundreds of paintings on my mad dash to Salle 13 where the Mona Lisa hangs by itself on a back wall. I craned my neck back and forth to get a vague impression of the art I was forsaking in an effort to see the most famous portrait of all time. When I got to the Mona Lisa my first thought was, “It’s a lot smaller than I imagined.” At 30 x 21 inches, its roughly to scale. And, at any given moment is surrounded by about 300 gawking tourists. I found myself thinking, “I should have taken my time in the outer halls, but there’s only one Mona Lisa.”

Let’s be very clear about one thing: When I say that my life is mediocre, I do not mean to imply that my life is anything other than wonderful. Mediocre as a word is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) as “average.” It’s only in recent years that mediocre has begun to connote “less than adequate.” We live in a culture infatuated with fame, fortune, and superheroes. We know that only 1% of people have that kind of lifestyle, but doesn’t it sometimes feel that if life doesn’t look the way it does in the movies then it’s not a real life at all? Do we believe that in order for a life to be called “good” it has to be sensational?

I don’t think so; at least, not by that definition. The purpose of “My Life in Mediocrity” is to examine just how fulfilling a life can be, even when it is only mediocre–average, unremarkable. My life is wonderful, even though I’m not rich, don’t want to be famous, and will most likely never do anything more significant than impact the lives of the family and friends around me.

What I have is an abundant life. I have a husband whom I adore more with every passing day. I have a daughter who is just as precocious as I had always hoped she would be. I work, I play, I learn. I worship my Lord through all that I do whether it’s through playing the keyboard in my church’s worship band, writing fanfiction, poetry, and essays, attending college, or even just interacting with my family, friends, and people in my small community.

I don’t know what God has planned for my life. But, whether my life is grand or just mediocre, I know it will be awesome. So, when I say that my life is a portrait painted in “mediocrity” I mean that my average life is just as beautiful and poignant as any masterpiece on display in Salle 13.

Original date of publication: March 2, 2013

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