With every season change, normal, the idea of conforming to a pattern, morphs into an unfamiliar series of breaths and heartbeats that one must get used to—accommodate.
It all depends.
In the fall, our normal is set by the school and sports calendars. That coveted information is inputed into my app, and all vacations, staycations, doctor's appointments, business trips, etc. are scheduled accordingly.
Then winter brings in the holiday traditions and our normal typically involves the warm and fuzzy succession of new memories punctuated by turkeys, trees, and trimmings.
Spring shifts our attention back to the Almighty calendar, and we commence with the wrapping up of the school year. Another grade completed, another milestone achieved. Parents and students often reenact the last scene of Grease as they run away from the school building as fast as possible, papers flying in the wind, to welcome the beloved lazy days of summer.
Summer is typically our break from normal because for most people, a tad of spontaneity is thrown into the mix. Days can stretch out in front of us when pockets of time that are otherwise methodically filled, suddenly open up. A honeymoon of celebrating the absence of routine lasts a couple of weeks, before the doldrums set in and we're scrambling to make the next six weeks somewhat normal again.
And then there are celebratory moments that turn normal on its head: the birth of a child, a marriage, a graduation . . .
But when tragedy strikes and shatters the core of normality, there is often no going back.
Because the person walking the road of normal becomes broken—shards of a heart once filled with the dynamics of a relationship lay all over the path, causing one to wince in pain when taking the next step or even the next breath.
Can one possibly be healed from this state of heartbreak?
Yes. Completely. There are no band-aids in God's first aid kit.
Your life continues to have purpose and a life lived is a life one can remember, cherish, and learn from.
Yesterday, I stood arm-in-arm with my brother in front of a casket that held our baby brother, knowing the moment we drove away, the kind-hearted groundsmen working the funeral would lower him into the ground next to our parents. The same parents who were killed twenty-three years prior in a violent car accident.
Our normal was never the same after September 20, 1994, and our normal will never be the same after June 19, 2017.
But it shouldn't be.
People change people and the absence of people change people. Every second on the clock precipitates the shattering of someone's every day.
The disciples never found their new normal after Jesus's death and resurrection. They never even tried. They moved forward with purpose, fervor, and excitement. I know they missed him and they grieved his presence, but I also know they comprehended the gift that had been given. How? Because with the presence of the Holy Spirit, their message of grace and mercy lit the world on fire.
Nope. I don't want to look for a new normal. Because our family count—1, 2, 3, 4, 5 . . . will never be the same on this side of heaven. That reality rests on a little hill in South Georgia.
But I do want to celebrate today! My parents taught me a lot while they were on the planet, and so did my little brother. How to listen, how to learn, how to love. And just as I have missed them, I will miss him. He may have been nine years my junior, but he was very much my friend and confidant. I will grieve his absence—everything from his voice, to his laughter, to his unparalleled vocabulary, to his relentless debates. I will mourn him.
And I give up on finding my new normal.
But I will do somersaults through the extraordinary, stand in awe of what is rare and beautiful, and twist and turn the eccentric in childlike fascination. I will celebrate the hope in the healing and wait in expectation until all is made new again!
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.