What is “normal”?
I’ve never been good at scheduling and planning. In fact, much of the time my brain doesn’t seem to turn on until my back is against the wall of a deadline. Things get done, tasks are accomplished, but always just under the wire, and without margin for error. It’s always been infuriating to me, but I also knew that it was my “normal.” This is probably one reason why I’ve gravitated towards a career in the arts, where ever-changing rehearsals and performances and such mean there’s never really a “normal” schedule.
Like so many of us, whatever sense of a regular schedule I did have was wiped out by the pandemic. No live performances, working remotely, our son attending school from his room. As weeks became months and stretched out past a year, this topsy-turvy life became our “new normal” – but rather than settling into it, there was always one eye towards when things would return to the “old normal.”
Now that we’re ever-so-slowly emerging from the worst of the pandemic, I realize that, in spite of the unpleasant reasons for our world changing, there were some truly wonderful things that we experienced that will be unique to this moment in time. On the top of this list was the increased time we had with our son. Although in the moment it felt like we never had a free moment to ourselves, looking back at watching him go through kindergarten, our near-daily walks to the park, the games and puzzles and books, and yes, the tears and frustrations, we got an opportunity to bond and grow as a family that may never be replicated.
Now we’re getting back to the “old normal.” Rebecca’s going back to her office more; I’ve been doing nights and weekends at the theatre, Joshua is at school and in soccer and swimming lessons. And while it’s familiar (and often quieter!), I find myself missing some of what I just recently considered craziness. I was so caught up in what was or wasn’t “normal” and how we would get back to “normal” that I almost missed the extraordinary.
As we go through life, looking for comfort in answers, patterns, rationales, and a sense of normalcy, we need to remember that human life is unpredictable, chaotic, and irrational. There is no such thing as “normal” – and if we can embrace that, maybe we can find the comfort we seek in the extraordinary, in the astonishing, and in the miraculous.
Christ the Good Shepherd
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