Normal.

The word normal is defined as conforming with an accepted standard or norm; natural; the usual state. Everyone thinks that they know what normal is (or is not) yet everybody’s normal looks different.
It’s normal for me to drive my own truck. It’s normal for me to walk in the door of my parent’s house, kiss my dad on the cheek, and help my mom set the table for dinner. There is nothing unusual about my dad paying medical bills that I cannot afford. It’s normal for him to be here, in my life.
On a “normal” day I go to yoga classes at a premier athletic club (where I work), I don’t think about money (much), I read books, and I don’t encounter drug abuse of any kind. That’s my normal.
There are lots of normals. I am discovering that mine is rare.
It’s normal for her to miss the bus and have to walk to work. It is normal for her to spend her last $10. It’s normal for her to walk into a house with TVs and radios playing loudly, and to be in charge of making supper. It’s not unusual for her to go for months without hearing from her dad. It is normal for her to see her mom with another man.
On a “normal” day she sits on the couch and watches Maury. She worries about money, she smells marijuana and knows who sells the cheapest drugs. That’s her normal.
Childishly I think that my normal is the normal. It’s absurd, really, to think that most of the 7 billion (or so) people in existence live like my family does. This planet can’t afford that many American Dreams. If you could measure blessings, I think it would be safe to say I have more than most. Because, Y’all, I’ve got so much. People are impressed by the choices I make and the work I do. My answer, “I’ve got everything going for me. What excuse do I have not to be my very best?”
It’s not a great tragedy that many peoples lives are far different from mine. There are lots of ways to live right. I like that people do things differently (often better) than me.
The problem I see is my own assumption that people have all the same help and blessings that I do. I treat them mercilessly and talk about others as though they have no excuse for laziness and poverty (as if it’s my place to make that judgment at all?!). I am wrong to speak generally about unique individuals.
The tragedy is distance from Jesus. Poverty, promiscuity, drugs, my own pride, it’s a result of the way we are wired. Sin has permeated the human heart. It poisons and stains us like smoke in a lung. We need redemption. Today and everyday we need God’s renewal.
I have begun my race on stable ground-financially, logically, nutritionally, socially-thanks to wise parents. Most are not blessed richly in this way. I hope I can learn from the precious souls that surround me. He blesses me that I may bless others. To bless is my highest aspiration.

I ask great things
Expect great things,
Shall receive great things….May the world this day be happier and better because I live.~Arthur Bennett, The Valley of Vision

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To My Most Avid Reader

To My Most Avid Reader,

You graduate from college this Saturday. People are saying that this is when “real life” begins. Now you are an adult. This is what all your training is for. This is where you have been headed all along.

I’m saying: this is going to be fun.

Now is the only moment God has entrusted you with. Seize it! Shape your future by living every day in deliberate pursuit of the Holy One. Start a lifestyle that is so good you’ll take it to the grave with you. Question everything you believe and find that God can answer the deepest queries. Seek Him & you will be the most happy, most beautiful woman alive.

Don’t ever think that you are wise enough, but respect the Lord and stay away from evil. This will make you healthy, and you will feel strong. (Proverbs 3:7-8 CEV)

Don’t work towards retirement; work to bring God’s kingdom to earth in the hearts of those around you. Spend long hours slaving over numbers on pages but spend many more in prayer for lost souls, and in prayer for the health of your own precious soul. The Lion of Judah has written your name on Himself. Surely that is a big enough truth to propel you to greater service, to more intense love for others.

Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:6)

You’re so good at being friends with the friendless. You’re tolerant and open in all the right ways. You are willing to work and to share your knowledge. You are an infant in evil, but mature in your thoughts (1 Corinthians 14:20). You have all the necessary traits of a disciple. Go.

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:8-10)

Many have spent this time of their life lamenting their relationship status. You have nothing to lament because your status is, “daughter of the King,” “in a Divine Romance,” and “in love with the Lover of my soul.” Be made awesome in this time. God wants you to come closer. There is always more of Him to fall in love with.

The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

You are quite possibly my only avid reader, but this only supports my description of your character. You’re a champion of underdogs as was our Lord and Savior, Jesus. I pray that yours will be an abundant life of communion with King Jesus. I want you to be happy because you’re my sister and I love you.

Be satisfied with His goodness.