Apparently, Normal does exist!
Which comes as a shock to me, as I've been painstakingly trying to locate Normal for about 3 years now, without success.
Little did I know that Normal was right in front of me, or rather, south of me. In Illinois no less. Here I'd given up any hope of finding it, only to be surprised at how close I've actually been to touching it. Smelling it. Basking in it. Normal is my neighbor!
One would think that Normal's true personality would be more like that obnoxious kid on the block who is always playing cruel jokes and crouching behind the bushes, ready to pounce and yell, "Fooled you, sucker! Didn't see me, did you?" Only, Normal hasn't pounced. Instead it hides quietly, out of the spotlight, masking its presence like an ideal on a permanent vacation. Next door to Bloomington.
Can you believe it? After all the time I've spent "waiting for life to return to Normal" and looking forward to a life where "things are back to Normal", I come to find that Normal has been here all along?
How many times did I send up the battle cry of "Normalcy! Come out, come out, where ever you are!" How much energy have I wasted searching and waiting and waiting and searching for the period in this bottomless caffeine drip called life when all the dailies of my world would align neatly with Normal?
And now I come to find out that according to this map, Normal has been lurking right down the road? For I don't get the impression that its presence is a new phenomenon, nor do I think it is planning on moving or disappearing like the island on LOST. Nope, it's been planted in the same place for some time now.
I just couldn't find it.
My problem is that I've been chasing after Normal even though my dear friend Normal has always been right under my nose. Already present. And thus, after the endless circle of begging, and yearning, and prayer to experience "Normal life", an acrobat feat which resembles the visual cliche of a gerbil on a wheel and dog chasing her tail, I've come to an enlightened conclusion.
I am currently living a Normal life.
After all, what IS Normal?
A life where each of the variables are perfectly in place at all times: spiritual life, marriage, parenting, housework, the car, school functions, career, finances, friendships, health, personal goals. Laundry?
I'm sorry. But what plane does one need to catch to crash land on THAT island?
Nah, I'm done plane hopping to find that flight. Instead, I'm adopting a New Normal. One where I observe what is currently before me and am able to state with assurance, "Why, that's Normal!". My Normal is that which I am experiencing right now. In the moment. For, whatever the Lord has doled out to me is Normal so far as I know it, right?
Come on, it's either this or climb the fence to peek into my neighbor's Normal only to compare and (ultimately) fall prey to envy over the Normal they are living. Or, I can continue to wander while seeking it, thus missing the beauty of some true Normal nuggets that may pass me by as I desperately focus on hunting down the "real" Normal. Either way I lose. With one, I become a creepy peeping Jo. With the other, I just wind up exhausted. So why go through life muttering, "Will the "real" Normal please stand up!" I should just carry my Normal like a big girl and treat each day as if I truly believe that "God's mercies are new every morning." Every morning. New mercies.
So what? Am I now inviting strife with this new outlook? Well, bring it on. Over the past three and a half years I've had my share of career changes, health concerns, money stress, crazy freaky church stuff, death (um, not my own), a child's pain, lot's of poop, car conundrums, lack of sleep, debt, surgery, weight gain, misunderstandings with friends, insecurities, childbirth, insurance claims.
And truly, laundry seems to be the only mountain we've yet to conquer.
And that, too, is pretty darn Normal.
And would you believe that just after clicking "publish" for this post, I went upstairs to find that my son has diarrhea and that it leaked out of his diaper onto his sheets?
Welcome to my Normal, Illinois.