Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The New Normal

Lately, I feel like the word "normal" has pushed its way into my normal vocabulary...
Yesterday, my lunch contained prawns (shrimp) with the head and eyes still on; I thought "this is not normal." Every time I walk home from the grocery store and pray that my bags don't break, I think "this is not normal." And every time I make dinner and it doesn't burn, I definitely think "this is not normal...but I'll take it."  Brian gave me my daily economy lesson on what the government is calling "the new normal" -- years of change and muted economic growth.  And just last night, I sat with a friend who shared his recent heartbreak with me and we talked about how his normal will forever be different than before.  Which got me thinking...what is normal? Because eating shrimp with eyes does not seem normal to me, yet the Australians certainly dig it.

Normal for us this year is quite different than it was a year ago, much different than two years ago, and a lifetime away from three years ago.  A move to NY, husband in grad school, and halved income brings with it interesting challenges :) And it happens every now and then...moments of deep homesickness.  Feelings of anxiety as I think about how "unsettled" we are at this point in our lives.  A longing for the familiar and stability.   But health has been good and family is safe, so how can I complain?

Maybe you have gone from being a student to an employee.  Or maybe the reverse.  Maybe your old normal was a glass of wine and trashy romance novel before bed and now it's Goodnight Moon and a bottle.  Milk not wine that is.  And my heart aches for those who experienced unwanted changes to their normal -- the passing of a parent, grandparent, job loss, health issues, and the list goes on. 

I think that if I expected "normal" to always be change, I wouldn't be so surprised when life doesn't stay constant.  I have never had much of an affinity for change, but it is necessary.  And as my dad has always said, there is a lot to be said for not having a boring life.  I won't pretend to know what anyone else might be struggling with right now, but I do know that everyone has a struggle (thank you, Nicholas Sparks).  And if you happen to be facing some changes in your life -- whether positive or negative -- I hope you find strength in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that says, 
"Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."   

Jesus never leaves us to deal with change from our normal on our own.  And that is the beauty of a life with Him -- the opportunity to have Him lead us into the great unknown.  And if we never gave up the good things in life, how would we ever have room for the great things to come :) 

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