?Normal

Posted: May 9, 2007 in Perspective

Life seems to be returning to a twilight-zone-esque normality.  The domino-effect of bad things happening got briefly worse when Stacey and some more friends of ours caught the stomach virus going around.  The woman who kept Z even had to cancel an out-of-town trip.  I feel terrible about that, since it was my child who brought the virus into their house.  On the other hand, I know there is no way we could have possibly predicted that would happen.

But this morning, apart from a migraine caused by her not eating anything yesterday, Stacey is much better.  Kailyn is much better.  Zachary, well, you’d never know he’d been sick.

EDIT:  It appears that now I will be looking forward to some time reigning on the “throne” myself (sigh), now that I’m developing some of my own symptoms.

Even though things are returning to normal, the reality of last week’s  events will remain long into the future, but catching glimpses of God’s power in all of this has been enough to keep me encouraged.  I feel overwhelmed at times, but God’s presence has been so obvious lately that I cannot help but stay encouraged.

 One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about this week is just exactly what “normal” is.  Maybe “normal” is that time when everything in our lives becomes predictable and routine.  We have schedules.  We have friends and family who are alive and present.  There’s a repetition to our tasks that is almost comforting.  Maybe at times we find the normalcy of life annoying or even depressing, but its sheer predictability gives us security and comfort.  The desire to see things go “back to normal” dominates our conversation when life hits us with the unexpected.  Being creatures capable of being wounded physically and emotionally, we rely on normalcy  – as if in some way the routine and mundane bear witness to the fact that nothing bad is happening to us as long as we can label life “normal.”  Given the inevitability of change and/or bad things happening, it may be false comfort, but perceived comfort nonetheless.

On the other hand, “normal” can also breed complacency, self-reliance, and resistance to change. 

But “normal” isn’t what it was for me anymore.  My dad is gone, and my relationship with him was a significant part of my life.  Though my mother lives on, her circumstances and mine and my brother’s relationship with her is changing.  Just over a week ago, my father was the man of the house.  Now, in a way, my brother and I are (though we’re both respectively 4 hours away).  Details, like my dad’s name still popping up on Caller ID or e-mails from him in Outlook that are still recent enough to be seen in the main window, now don’t seem routine at all, but reminders that my world has now changed.

And even as I try to adjust to this changed reality, I’m finding myself cautious.  I do not merely want my life to degenerate once again into complacency and routine by putting my faith in some sort of false “predicatability of the normal” that invites mediocrity in my relationships, my commitment to my ministry, or my appreciation for God-given things.  I want my life to be anything but normal.

That doesn’t mean I want to turn into some freak who stands out in front of my church wearing a sandwich board that says something cheesy like “Wal-mart isn’t the only saving place.”  I don’t want to be ‘abnormal,’ either.

Bluntly, I want to put my faith in God, not the predictability of the routine.  There’s nothing exciting about routine.  While we may dread the monotonous repetition tomorrow may bring, we still find comfort in yesterday’s “nothing out of the ordinary.”  But if we see each day as ordinary, many times that means nothing exciting is going to happen – because we won’t dare to DO anything exciting.

What we need to do is find a way to seize every moment as an opportunity to meet someone, help someone, grow closer to God, laugh, cry, feel, hurt, and make a difference in our world.

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