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As our family waits for The Hobbit to start, five words in a pre-movie advertisement turn me into a crazy person.
Five words make me spontaneously shout, “That’s not true!”
(Which makes my son try to shrink his 6’ frame and my daughter try to shush me.)
It’s not the advertiser’s fault that their fancy five word phrase catches me the wrong way today. They’re just doing their job: selling fun, risk, and hope.
But tears sting my eyes as I furiously text a note to self:
“For me, ‘Normal can never be amazing’ is a LIE.”
A normal Christmas Day would have been amazing.
To have Mother bustling about the kitchen, correcting all my cooking mistakes and calling out, “Harvey, the volume!” when Mozart’s concerto booms too loud in the living room. To have one of her enormous fresh flower arrangements in the middle of the table so we could play to play our yearly game of try-to-talk-through-the-centerpiece.
Instead, I spent four hours cooking alone in Mother’s kitchen while she lay on the couch, only vaguely aware of my presence or identity.
A normal Monday back-at-school next week would be amazing.
To have Pastor Jon welcome our students back from Christmas break with his warm hugs and just-for-you smile. To have him lead another class discussion about how what the Bible says applies to nitty-gritty everyday living.
Instead, we will be shock-walking from class to class on Monday, in the throes of raw grief, wondering what we will do without the man who has lived the heart of God’s grace in this place for two decades.
That Daddy is alive and almost back to normal is amazing.
After a New Year’s Day hike took longer than expected, my father fell 50 feet down a ravine where he waited for hours in the freezing darkness until the rescue helicopter was able to airlift him to safety.
Instead of reeling from a second loss in two days, we are celebrating that his sprained ankle and scalp lacerations are healing.
For me to agree that
- normal can never be amazing…
…would say nothing about “normal” but speak volumes about my own capacity
But I vehemently disagree.
I shouted, “That’s not true!” in the theater, I’ve been rehearsing it in my heart ever since, and I’m pounding it out here for anyone who’s read this far.
“Normal can never be amazing” is a lie. (Click to tweet this.)
- After almost 22 years of parenting, I know that one “normal” conversation between my strong-willed daughter and her stubborn-as-a-mule mom (which would be me) is so amazing that it deserves a holiday or postage stamp or fireworks or all three.
- After a high-risk pregnancy and pre-term delivery, I know that a “normal” birth is mind-bogglingly amazing, and every time (okay, almost every time) my 6’ tall “preemie” annoys me I remember the incubator and am astonished anew.
- After 25 years of marriage, I know that one more “normal” day together is a startlingly amazing gift to be treasured as if it’s our last…because it just might be.
Part way through The Hobbit, Gandalf says, “Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I have found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
With this, I whole-heartedly agree.
And I re-commit to intentionally cherish — by choosing amazement amidst the “normal” — the people and life I am so lavishly blessed to call mine.
- What’s your response to “normal can never be amazing”? (Please feel more than free to disagree with me!)
- When I invited Facebook friends to agree or disagree with “normal can never be amazing,” a whole discussion of definitions ensued. How do you define “normal”? “amazing”?
- Anything else on your heart!