The Transcendent and the Ordinary

Photo by Michael W. May titled “Impressions through a dirty window”



My Home is a Temple

My home is a temple
With pinnacles of dirty dishes
And large glass windows stained
With fingerprints and water marks.

As the priestess of this sanctuary
I offer up our soiled laundry
At the altar of the washing machine.
It emerges transformed.

Each morning I prepare
A sacrament of coffee and toast
So that we might celebrate
The preciousness of life.
We are all in need of sustenance and caffeine
To smooth over our natural and cranky state.

My home is a temple
To the everyday
Where we ritualize the necessary
And always remember that the
Are also the

I wrote this poem in response to the On Being blog post by Christena Cleveland. I am guilty of desiring the transcendent instead of celebrating the ordinary, in the false belief that God resides beyond the everydayness of our lives. I had not considered the broader implications of such a belief, that the ability to escape from the ordinary is a privilege. I am working to create a shift in my own thinking.

Where in your everyday life do you find holiness? What kinds of daily actions do you consider to be sacred rituals?

Nancy Ross

Nancy Ross is an art history professor by day and a sociologist of religion by night. She lives in St. George, Utah with her husband and two daughters and co-hosts the Faith Transitions podcast.

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2 Responses

  1. Emily U says:

    I love your poem.
    And thanks for pointing us to the On Being blog post.

  2. Caroline Kline says:

    So great nancy. This reminds me of what I wish Julie Becks’ Mothers Who Know talk had been. I think she was trying to elevate the mundane to the level of the sacred, but it came off as so limiting and dogmatic. I like your approach much better.

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