Why do we say “back to normal”? Can’t normal be in front of us?
Over the past year as just about everything I thought I knew about anything changed, I’ve been training myself to use typical or regular instead of normal. The word normal seems stuck in time, immoveable, riveted in place. Perhaps it is the phrase ‘back to normal’ that has brought about this static connotation.
Or perhaps it’s that so many of us believe that normal is actually something that can be defined and achieved and that anything outside of our defined and carefully crafted normal is defined as bad or wrong (don’t we only use the word abnormal to mean bad rather than just atypical?). If normal never changed, we’d all still be living as our original ancestors did. If normal never changed we wouldn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing or clean water or cars or planes or the internet.
I think what most folks mean when they say “back to normal” is “back to my comfort zone”. This past year has disrupted everything and we are desperately seeking comfort. We remember what being comforted feels like so we think it must be somewhere in our past.
For Jesus’ Followers I do think that normal is always in front of us. Life isn’t static. The life Jesus calls us to is one of continued growth and formation. Normal in God’s kingdom is following Jesus as we learn each day how to love God, our neighbors, and ourselves on earth as it is in heaven.
In his letter to the church in the city of Philippi, Paul says “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”
Do you hear God’s voice beckoning you to find comfort and peace and hope in following Jesus?