Sunday, 16 November 2008

Word of the day - Alltag

I love the German word Alltag, but it's not always easy to translate. Daily grind is one possibly, everyday life another. Alltagsgeschichte could be history of everyday life or history from below or history of the people - depending on the context.
I thought of this word one evening in the week, coming home too late from the daily grind there was a hand-delivered envelope waiting for me.
It was a simple note from a former parishioner who I never knew all that well when I was her minister. She said some kind things. It had obviously cost her alot of emotion to write - the note had two dates on it ...
Looking back at the week I realise how easy it would be for me to forget the letter, because of the daily grind, because it's easier to dwell on awful, difficult and desperately sad things, or on my own feelings of guilt or inadequacy about everything I have not managed to do or be.
Receiving a beautiful letter like that is rare, a call to lift my nose from the grindstone and celebrate both the ordinariness and the extraordinariness of our wonderful human existence.
Sometimes I feel unexpectedly blessed.