Maybe this week will be normal. No earthquakes. No hurricanes. No power outages. Just people waking up normally and going normally to where they normally should go. No dramatic surges in cell phone usage. No frantic texting. No schedule rearranging. I’m not getting my hopes up for calm. Just normal.
Somewhere in the recesses of my sub-consciousness is a pseudo-Platonic ideal of what normal is supposed to be. (It’s tucked in there right next to the road-map of God’s perfect will for my life.) Every year I keep hoping for a normal year. I’m not sure what it is exactly but what I’ve been experiencing can’t possibly be it. Can it? The past few years have been a roller-coaster of weddings and funerals and babies and job stress and travel opportunities and health concerns. Throw in some natural disasters, too, like Snow-mageddon and tornadoes and earthquakes and hurricanes. When the weather alerts come, I can’t decide if I should run to the basement, stand in a doorway, or move to the second floor.
At school we routinely have drills to practice for fire, tornadoes, terrorists, and now earthquakes. It’s normal to prepare for the abnormal. We also routinely have temperature issues in our classrooms and argue with the maintenance staff over it. We long for “normal” temperatures. But too hot or too cold is actually what is normal in our building! (I must point out that “normal” and “acceptable” are two entirely different concepts.)
At home, the spider-webs enshroud the house. The six-year-old riding mower needs repair. The sixty year old tractor is having issues. Crickets chirp in the basement. Garlic chives bloom, casting seeds all over the yard. And if we don’t take the phone off the hook, IBM will call us at 2 a.m. These are all normal.
We have a very special “club” at school of teachers who have experienced the trauma of losing their dads. We added a new member this week and another member may soon be joining us. That club is counter-balanced by the new baby/grandbaby club with its inherent competition (who has the most grandkids, who is the most sleep-deprived, who needs to reserve a sub). Then there is the emerging club of teachers who have returned to school relaxed from the summer but ten pounds heavier and fretting about how to lose it when they have stocked their desk drawers with emergency chocolate supplies. Deaths and births and gaining weight are, alas, normal. (The first two often resulting in the third!) That’s why we are able to form clubs.
Not-normal is normal. (Is that like saying ‘lime is the new salt’ or ‘brown is the new black’?) This is making my head hurt. Perhaps I need to let go of normal. Embrace the craziness! Well, maybe simply live in the moment. And pray that this week doesn’t bring a tsunami.