Inspirational · Spiritual

Normalcy is for Suckers

What a long, strange trip its been.
What a long, strange trip it IS.

Sometimes the light is shining on me, other times, I can barely see” – The Grateful Dead

Can I just be honest?

I hate change.

The past several months have been one change after another for me, and I resent it. I’m ready for some normalcy, but I no longer believe it exists. I’ve decided that believing in “normal”  is for suckers.

What do I hate about change? I hate that good things go away, and bad things come around – before the good things come back.

I hate that change seems to happen at the precise moment that I seem to find my groove. Change often feels like having the rug yanked out from under me. You know that rug….the one  that can feel like a genuine magic flying carpet, before it gets yanked.

I like riding on the high of good times. I cling on to the good times as if they are The New Normal.  I like the exuberance of feeling ‘normal.’ Normal seems, for all  the world, to have a rhythm, a steadiness. But changes keep rolling in.

Peace sometimes gets disrupted, and chaos ensues – it is lost, before it can be found again.

Jobs, weight, weather – all forever rising and falling – and getting on my ever-loving nerves.

Fresh things get stale.

Income comes in, and becomes “out-go” in the blink of an eye.  Bills go up, the market goes down.

Kids outgrow their childhoods, but don’t leave when you are ready for them to fly. Then they grow up, and leave before you’re ready.

Relationships grow and change, morphing in uneven spurts.

Feelings in a footrace with facts, boundaries built and crumbled.

The world is a mess – just look at the news! Nothing stays stable – nothing on this earth.

Pets grow old and sick., and pass away (we lost two beloved animals in a two month span.)

We – and our circumstances – change unevenly.

Don’t even get me started on hormones… Oy vey!

Lately it occurs to me….what a long, strange, interesting trip it’s been

And the hardest changes? Spirits get bound and released, and broken and mended. (Why can’t they just stay mended?)

I suppose because….It just wouldn’t be “normal.”

Jesus said, “In this life, you will have trouble,” and He wasn’t whistling Dixie. I think he was saying, in a way:  “In this life you will have change.”

In this life, you will lack for normal….if you’re “normal.”

So, is it normal to hate change?

I decided to look up synonyms for “normal” in the thesaurus – to see if Webster could define what I cannot.  Interestingly, “normal” is synonymous with  ordinary. Its meaning is the same as “ uniformity, average, common, and routine.”

I cannot relate to any of those words. They are not words I would claim over my life. I do not ask God for average, common. Where is the interestingness?  Where is the exuberance?

The antonyms –exact  opposites  of “normal” are magic-carpet words:  buoyant, eager, exciting, vigorous, vital, and zesty. (Zesty!)

I am  learning to “go with the flow,” really. I’m trying. Since change seems to be the order of the day, I really need to enjoy the ride. My hatred of so many changes doesn’t seem to be preventing any of it, anyway.

Circumstances will never stop evolving, but eventually …

New, fresh things come to pass with change. Buoyant, vital things. Change means the change in seasons just when you are sick and tired of the current one. It means new babies. Sunrises. Music you’ve never heard before. Laughing about something that you have the frame of reference to appreciate now – because of all the changes.

Relationships deepen and broaden, and become more enlightened  – if not ‘normal.’

Kids do grow up, and have their own kids to contend with (ahhhh, a sweet consideration!)

And God still loves this messy, messy world – made up of so many lives that will have trouble. So many lives who will have change.

Normalcy is for suckers, honestly. I’m sure of it.

Motherhood · Spiritual

To the Moon and Back – a snapshot from motherhood

Not so far after all
Not so far after all

By: Jana Greene

One little snapshot. That’s how I remember the moment. Every time I hear the trendy expression, “I love you to the moon and back,”  I think about it.

My firstborn was only fourteen months old. We had just come in from a full afternoon of story time at the library  and playtime at the park, our tote full of toddler books.  She still had sand in the baby-crevices in her arms, and under her neck, all the cracks in her tan little body that the sun couldn’t reach but the sand always did.

She was whining and  going limp, the kind of tired that she couldn’t identify, and neither could I.

When you’re a mom, you think you should be able to identify all of the cries.

I sank into the living room couch and patted my lap for her to come sit with me. Opening the canvas tote full of hard board books, I started to read from the Very Hungry Caterpillar aloud.

She collapsed to the floor, shaking her head ‘no’ for a moment, and then toddled climbed up into my lap. She took the book from my hand, dropped it to the floor, and dug into the tote for her very favorite book. It was a book by Margaret Wise Brown that  we’d checked out from the library every week, even though we owned it.

“Goodnight Moon.”

She wanted to nurse, and I wanted her to be quiet. So, we made a deal.

Breastfeeding is the purest thing in the whole world. How it became more unnatural to the bottle, I will never understand. It nourishes both child and mother, and strengthens the bond. That bond comes in handy often.

With one arm I cradled her as she nursed, and with the other I flipped the cardboard pages.

“”In the great green room , there was a telephone, and a red balloon, and a picture of….” she pulled away in anticipation of the dramatic line.

“The cow jumping over the moon!”  All smiles, she got her pointing finger ready.

“Can you find the bunny?” I whispered. In every picture in the story, there is a little bunny in striped pajamas, hiding among the room lit by moonrise. We had read this book a hundred times. She found the bunny with her tiny finger and smiled before going back to the breast.

“Goodnight cow jumping over the moon.”

She went back to nursing and reached her hand up to my face.  And she patted my cheek gently, just as she patted the bunny in her other favorite book (title spoiler: “Pat the Bunny.”)

We were content in that moment….my little girl in her bright pink Osh-Kosh B’Gosh overalls and oversized bow in her hair. You’d better remember this moment, I told myself, for some odd reason.  Remember it. You will need it when she is a teenager.

I tousled the hair at the nape of her neck, which curled up in a tiny blonde duck-tail when she played hard enough to get sweaty.  She was so tiny and perfect. Neither of us had made many mistakes, but we would.

And I loved her to that big old moon and back.

Holding her tighter, I vowed that I would not forget that single unremarkable moment.

Now, twenty years later, the moon seems a paltry distance to shoot for. I get tired in ways I cannot identify, and I do a lot of whining. Sometimes I just go limp from the worry that comes with motherhood and never, ever goes away.

My Firstborn doesn’t always find the “bunny” even when I point it out to her. She has to look for it on her own. I think I knew back in that moment, that finding the bunny was the least of it. I’m so glad I have that moment burned in my mind like a star. I cannot tell you how often the bonding we did when she was a baby has come in handy!

Today, she attended church with me. When we worshipped hand-in-hand, I looked over at her and had that same spasm of love .  She is taller than me now, with raven hair and those same great, green eyes. I’ve long ago accepted that I cannot identify all of her cries  (nor all of my own, for that matter.)

I reached over to her and patted her cheek, very gently. Remember this, I thought.

I hope my not-so-little girl looks for God, even when He seems to be, hiding somewhere under the moonrise. He can seem as elusive as a bunny in striped pajamas, or as big and clear as a full moon.

Even when contentment doesn’t come in the cardboard pages of a toddler’s book, but in the paper-thin pages of mystical scripture. I want the Son to reach all of her, but I know she has to look for Him.

I want to remember this moment forever. One little snapshot.

Goodnight stars,

Goodnight air.

Goodnight noises everywhere…..

Above the heavens, beyond the sun,

At the end of the universe,

I’ve just begun!

I love you to the moon and back,

And a million, trillion  more miles than that.

And we were content in that moment, my girl and I.