Waiting for Normal

I have been reading and rereading Debra’s post of a few days ago, “The Supposed to Be Disease.”

You could say that it’s a bit timely for me.  We didn’t move to Colorado last year so that Pete could go back to engineering.  We didn’t move out into the country last month with the expectation that our big, beautiful suburbia house would languish on the market after one very early offer fell through and one later contract was canceled by the buyer.  We didn’t expect one of our best friends–the one we essentially followed to Colorado to partner with in ministry–to betray his family, divorcing his wife and marrying someone else, all in a span of about seven months, which led directly to the reversal in Pete’s career path (not to mention what it’s done to our friend’s precious family).

So, yes, I am most gravely stricken at the moment with the “Supposed to Be” disease.  And Debra’s words have been my treatment.

They’ve also stirred up other thoughts in my swimmy little head, because not only do I find myself thinking about what is “supposed to be” and how different our reality is from that vision, but I also find myself thinking a lot about what is “normal.”  I am positively scrambling to get our lives back to some semblance of normal so that I can feel normal and our day-to-day life can proceed normally again.

So, I stay up until midnight or so each night, feverishly unpacking boxes and rearranging furniture to try to set up the house so it can magically transform itself into a home (sans cardboard).  I reject help from Pete and the girls, because I want them to be able to have their summer, rather than frittering away the days with me, reorganizing closets and arranging goofy knick-knacks on shelves and dressers and mantles.  And I do all of this with the goal of returning to normal.

Well, what exactly is normal, anyway?  Do I honestly think that doing yucky chores and dealing with the daily glitches that pepper themselves throughout my every day is abnormal?  Is it truly strange that our shower backed up and managed to dampen the carpet outside the bathroom (hallelujah for that home warranty!)?  Is it out of the ordinary that our movers were goofballs that broke things and lost things and assembled the grand piano with the legs in the wrong places and various bolty-looking things left off?  Is it newsworthy that my minivan is starting to make odd noises and shimmy alarmingly whenever I approach 70 mph? (Yes, that’s me in the slow lane, going below the 75 mph speed limit.  Try not to huff at me as you pass.)

If my house and car were normal, they would cooperate with me, not force me to make phone calls and run errands.  If people were normal, they’d be honest and hard-working, not dishonest and lazy, leaving me with no other option but to open a credit card dispute with our movers.  If life were normal, Pete would be a chaplain or a pastor and he wouldn’t have to travel for work, and I’d have abundant time to start that second novel that’s boinging around desperately in my brain, trying to get out.

Or that’s what I seem to believe, anyway, if I listen to my grumblings and moanings.

But, thanks to Debra, I’m slowly opening my eyes to the truth that this crazy, complicated life really is normal.  And by striving to yank out all the kinks and smooth out the bumps, all I’m really doing is missing opportunities.  My crazy, normal life is going on without me because I’ve got my head ducked down like a charging bull, complete with smoke coming out of my nose.  I’m missing countless chances to laugh at the insanity and learn to deal with things and work alongside my family, sharing the load.

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