The Mistake of Ignoring “Normal”
Last evening David and I were going for a walk to get our steps in and stretch our legs. As we briskly moved along, it hit me what a lame person would give to be doing what we were doing. Just walking.
Movements, abilities, and the painless comfort that I don’t even think about would mean so much to another person. My whole life is full of seeing, doing, touching, tasting, smelling and hearing things that I don’t fully value or appreciate. Getting into the habit of thinking thanks turns “normal” into a celebration.
Different Makes Me Thankful for Normal
When I lose the ability to do something, I become acutely aware of how much I miss it. And on the other hand, when I regain a lost ability, or when the pain finally goes away, I am so very thankful. Getting lost in a city or travelling for a long time in the third world makes me so glad for the normal of home.
When we spend time with our dear friends who are battling cancer, struggling with an ongoing disability, living with disease, or coping with advancing age, we resist feeling guilty that “the lines have fallen to us in pleasant places,” and we become so very thankful for our “normal” life, which is actually an amazing gift of grace on this curse-ravaged earth.
When Different Becomes Normal
But as many of you know, our “normal” can change drastically in a short time to something very different than we ever expected. Sometimes we learn that this detour is actually our new main road. We then have the opportunity to discover things to be thankful for in that new normal. And if the human outlook seems bleak, we who believe in Jesus have a final and ultimate normal to look forward to – standing face to face with our Redeemer, free from pain, full of the love, joy, and shalom that our Creator initially designed to be our “normal.” What hope!
Being Th(i)nkful for “Normal”
You can turn “normal” into thankfulness. How? Get out a piece of paper.
Write down 10 wonderful things about your “normal” right now? Which of the five senses do you enjoy? What pains don’t you have? What police station, court, morgue, hospital, or funeral homes haven’t you visited lately? What extreme weather conditions are you enduring right where you’re sitting reading this blog post? How much gunfire and shelling have been happening outside your window? How much food is in your refrigerator and pantry?
Have you ever been at a prayer meeting where the leader asks for praises to begin the service? Often it gets all quiet. How neat it would be to have someone say: “I am so thankful that I could hear you make that request.” 🙂 I think of what it must be like for a born deaf person to hear for the first time. I have inserted this video of a little deaf boy hearing his father’s voice for the first time. When his eyes show that he is aware of something new, something different, it is like he enters Narnia ~ a whole new world. If you have already been walking around in the Narnia of hearing, you sure have a lot to think thanks about.
Th(i)nkful people spot opportunities to give thanks in the minutia – for seeing rainbows in soap bubbles, hearing a baby’s laugh, smelling freshly mown grass, and touching a rabbit’s ears. A thinkful person imagines what would happen if all of this mundane “normal” stuff was taken away … and expresses that thanks in verbal or written form.
So when I am tempted to complain about doing my normal responsibilities, like shopping, let me instead be th(i)nkful for my car, for my ability to drive to the shop, push a cart, have the funds, make decisions from often hundreds of choices … and so on. As the familiar meme says, “what if we had tomorrow only what we thanked God for today?”
Getting into the habit of thinking thanks turns “normal” into a celebration.