I’ve been pondering this word “normal” lately. Is it possible that the definition of it can change depending on the circumstance we find ourselves? Is it one of those words that has a level of fluidity to it depending on the age we are?
I remember different times in my life when I was told by a parent, teacher, or other well meaning authority figure to, “Act normal!” That statement alone seems to be quite the oxymoron. ‘Act’ implies that I would not be doing ‘normal’ naturally. And if some one tells me this today, now in my late forties, is my normal now what it was say 10, 20, or 30 years ago? If not, then what made it change?
Sure, some will give the quick answer of maturity. As we mature there is the natural progression of behaving or “acting” more grown up. But for some that is not a choice; some people are given an extra chromosome and go through life with a child like faith and attitude. Their bodies age, but their outlook on life is just a joy to be around. That is “normal” for them.
Normal for my four grand daughters is different even though they are all just seven months apart in age. The oldest is four, her sister is two, their parents expect different “normal” behavior from them. As do the parents of the other two girls who are at three and almost two. And “normal” in each family can vary as well, even though my daughters were raised in the same household.
I have a T-shirt imprinted with the slogan, “Growing old is mandatory, Growing up is optional!” Is this “normal”? I thought it was funny, plus it was on sale, so I bought it. I would not wear it to preach in, well that’s not necessarily true, I might, but it is “normal” to see me in it at our coffee house, but not a school board meeting.
The dictionary defines normal as this: adjective Conforming to the standard of the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural. It further goes on to define in a psychological state; free from any mental disorder; sane. So who sets the ‘standard’? What is ‘common’? Free from any mental disorder? Doesn’t that eliminate a rather large part of out society?
As I continue through my process and journey of depression and I learn more about it, I am finding out that I have differing degrees of “normal”‘ so maybe, just maybe, where I am right now is my new “normal” as I journey back to a more normal “normal”, what ever that is, I guess I’ll find out.
The one thing I am sure of is this; No matter where I am in this journey, God still loves me and Jesus still meets me where I am, and the Spirit still leads me to where I’m going.
That’s this Shepherd’s stance for today, thanks for tuning in.