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On My Way Back to Normal

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Did they know? As I stood in the doorway, clad in my red fleece robe, clutching a warm mug of strong coffee, and waving goodbye, I wondered. Did they know they left with part of my heart packed away in their multiple pieces of luggage?

True, the presence of this part of me won’t cause them to be overweight at the airport; it won’t even show up on the TSA scan. But with their departure, our Christmas 2018 officially becomes a collection of memories. It is over. Slowly and with hesitation, I turn back through the front door and walk into our silent house. That singular motion initiates the journey on my way back to normal.

Snuggling under the warm afghan, tucked in a comfortable spot in my favorite brown leather chair, I gaze out the window. The nonstop, cold rain matches my spirits.

On my way back to normal…

I take inventory of my surroundings:

The Christmas tree stands forlorn.

The poinsettias look wilted.

The stockings—once brimming—hang empty and limp.

The glorious chaos is gone.

On my way back to normal…

I take inventory of my feelings:

I am too thankful to cry, but too sad to charge ahead. (I miss them already!)

Fatigue—my companion, but not my friend—lowers my guard.

My emotions vacillate back and forth like a confused compass needle.

I am not so sure I like normal.

On my way back to normal…

I take inventory of my blessings:

Doing the math, I acknowledge that 4 generations, of 15 lives, overlapping for 10 days are rare gifts to be savored.

Furthermore, I calculate that no one got sick, there were no injuries, and no appliances broke down.

And, I admit that shared activities received a Five Star Review:

  • attending the spectacular Nutcracker performance, inclusive of a backstage tour

  • worshipping together on Christmas Eve

  • savoring our family’s traditional raclette meal

  • taking grandchildren to see the new Mary Poppins movie and giving parents a much-needed break

  • visiting the Cincinnati Zoo and being gobsmacked with a view of the world renowned baby hippo Fiona !

On my way back to normal…

I acknowledge that normal arrived too quickly for my heart. However, normal is now God’s current sweet spot of abundant joy for me. Normal allows for extended quiet times in the Scriptures, conversations with Larry by the fire, relaxed evenings with a Hallmark movie. And normal offers an upcoming calendar full of opportunity and promise. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

So, on my way to stretch out for a long overdue nap, I smile and embrace the quiet, calm beauty of normal.

Living With Eternal Intentionality

How do you feel about your return to normal after a busy holiday schedule?

What is your inventory of your surroundings, your feelings, your blessings?

Why can you trust God’s plans for you?