Out of the Norm
Normal” must be one of the most underrated words in the English language. The term is defined as regular, mundane, or dull, yet we use it to answer casual questions like “How was work?” or “How was your check-up?” Then we move on. But what happens when our auto-reply no longer fits? When the job is suddenly lost or our health is not okay? That ordinary word slips from our hands and shatters at our feet.
Of course, it’s easy to get comfortable with our well-oiled routines while unknowingly taking the smallest things for granted. Like a thief in the night, when normal is stolen from us, the shock can be jarring. Such losses come in all shapes and sizes: the bank account that takes an unexpected hit, the absence of a pet that once greeted you faithfully at the door, a spouse confessing unfaithfulness, the feared 3am phone call, the first Christmas without that special person, a prenatal ultrasound with no heartbeat. “Normal” can quickly become a nostalgic part of the past.
Life and normalcy have one thing in common: they are fleeting. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 reads, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” It’s certain there will be great joys on this earth, but also great hardships and sadness. While trying to navigate through the fog of challenging times, may we remember that the bad experiences on Earth are as temporary as the cold winter.
When “why” weighs on our hearts and reasoning revolves in our minds, we are not alone in our sadness. Psalm 34:18 calms the soul: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
As we grow in wisdom, may we realize the value woven into life’s “normal.” How sweet are those blessings that all too often go unrecognized?! Examining each moment yields rich rewards. A goodbye kiss from a spouse feels much deeper, that daily phone call from a loved one is more cherished, the piles of little kids’ laundry are less of an annoyance, a clean bill of health from the doctor is truly celebrated, and each “I love you” is an invaluable treasure. When living life, may we see that “normal” is far from regular, mundane, or dull. Let it be recognized and cherished for what it is; a priceless, fragile gift wrapped in the camouflage of everyday life just ready for us to receive it and be thankful. AM
By Lili Heiser