What is Normal?

Ponderings from Mary Pandiani,
Selah Executive Director

Where is the Normal?
We want to return to normal. We hear it everywhere –
when will it be normal again?
Will it ever be normal again?
If we can’t go back to what is normal, then what is the new normal?
Truth is, normal is only a construct we’ve created in our mind.
It’s the place where we’re not afraid when we look back.
Or if our past normal has been living with fear,
at least it’s the “devil we know versus the devil we don’t know.”
Normal never is really normal.

What if we’re created to live outside of normal?
That instead of relying on what we think
we’re supposed to have or do or be,
we listen in a new way from a source
that provides what we really need.

Maybe, just maybe, we’re to live into the abnormal,
not as in bucking the norm,
but in giving up what we’ve come to believe as the normal.
As we start to re-enter a post-shelter-in-place-Covid19 world,
maybe we have a new opportunity to live
by that source that is also our supply?

A French poet, Jean-Claude Renard, writes this about God:

The Well
But how can we affirm it’s already too late
to fulfill the desire-
so patient does the gift remain;
and when always, perhaps,
something or someone says,
from the depth of silence and nakedness,
that an ineffable fire continues to dig in us
beneath wastelands peopled by thorns
a well that nothing exhausts.    

Will we ever return to what has been?
No, even in the best of times, we can never return to our past.
But we do have an opportunity to embrace the one
who is our source and supply, the well that nothing exhausts.

May we all consider what it means to live into the abnormality
of a world we could never manage in the first place,
nor could control in our personal circumstances.
At this time, let’s direct our focus to a new normal/abnormal
upon which we trust the one who offers love
in the place of control and fear.
God, the Divine Presence, whispers in the loss of what has been,
“I am with you, always,”
to lead us to whatever may be before us,
as the well that nothing exhausts.

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