Monday, March 08, 2010

Waiting for Life to Get Back to Normal?

I think I met her only once, and she wouldn’t know who I am. But we have pictures of her family on our fridge and I read the newsletters she sends to my roommate.

C. has been through some tough stuff these last few years. Not only is she raising three young children, but she’s also nursed her husband through cancer and helped care for a father whose heart is slowly failing. A few months ago, her mother unexpectedly and suddenly passed away from a major aneurism. C. finds herself in the “sandwich generation,” raising kids while caring for aging parents. “To be honest, I actually do feel like a sandwich,” she writes. “A Panini sandwich, smashed and grilled!”

In such circumstances, she found herself writing to friends, “When life gets back to normal, let’s get together!”

“And then I catch myself… If the Webster dictionary based the definition of normal on my life, they would have to publish a new edition every month to keep up with the rapidly changing definition of ‘normal.’ If I waited until everything returned back to normal, I would never get together with anyone. So now I’m thinking of changing what I write on emails to this new phrase: ‘My life is abnormal, so let’s get together.’”

As C. has discovered, life is filled with twists and turns, and we can’t expect it to smooth out this side of heaven. As long as we are here, we might as well get together and support one another in good times and bad. The community and fellowship we can offer one another are sweet.

* * *

In this abnormal season of my life I'm feelin' the love. Everyone I asked to be in my sabbatical support group said yes, and insist that they are honored to do it. Even though I cried through our whole first meeting, pretty much. (Kind of knew that would happen. I don't cry easily, but certain things take me right there.) People I hardly know at church are giving me hugs and smiles. One woman whose name I have a hard time remembering told me she'd awoken in the middle of the night and prayed for me. Yesterday an old friend called out of the blue to tell me I'd been on her mind and let me know about a dream she'd had about me. Huh. Practical stuff too: a man I know fixed my computer for free, and the couple who owns our house stopped overnight and fixed all kinds of stuff around the house.

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