After a fitful sleep last Thursday night, I stumbled into the bathroom half-awake on Friday morning. Going through my regular routine, I held a cotton ball in my hand, ready to use toner on my face. Just before I dunked the cotton ball, my eyes caught sight of the label: “nail polish remover”! My daughter left the remover on the counter and I was about to use it as face toner! How I didn’t notice the smell is bewildering and perhaps I will ponder that more later.
It has been that kind of week. My youngest daughter broke her wrist. My husband’s company was unexpectedly sold to an international corporation, and he is confident that the current staff will be released. On the exact same day, the 4-year college where I’ve taught for nearly 17 years closed the graduate program where I most often instruct due to decreased enrollment. We had an aging-parent issue and three more less-significant, yet unforeseen, mind-boggling, and massively time consuming happenings. It’s been the kind of week that when anyone’s cell phone rang, we all stared at each other wide-eyed, reluctant to answer!
While I thrive on routine and tend to grow unproductive without it, I’m also the first to complain about my life being ordinary. I won’t usually grumble out loud about how boring my routine is (except on this blog ;), but I definitely complain so enthusiastically in my mind that my face contorts until one of my kids asks, “What’s wrong, Mom?”
One thing I can count on is that my life is “normal”. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, driving, driving, driving, encouraging the kids, sitting at the kitchen table pretending that I’m actually helping with Algebra homework…
Some routine prevailed through the unexpected chaos last week, but life wasn’t normal. How distracted were we from our “normal” behavior? Here are a few examples:
- My husband lost his cell phone somewhere between two geographically separate meetings. Retracing his steps after returning to the original meeting location, he miraculously found his phone, under a pickup truck, in the snow.
- Later in the week, after returning home from work, he couldn’t find his wallet. Just as I lifted the phone to begin canceling credit cards, he found it in the kitchen garbage. Apparently, he threw out a few things from his car and dropped the wallet in with them! This is a man who has a well-deserved reputation for being organized and certainly not the type to ever lose anything!
- I filled the entire fabric softener section of my washer with a ridiculous amount of detergent. That load required a double wash.
- I put the peanut butter in the fridge, the jam in the cupboard, and the television remote in the bread drawer. It took us hours to find the remote.
Every single day right into the weekend held something unexpected and unpleasant. Doing dishes, ten loads of laundry and cleaning the kitchen floor would have been a pleasure compared to the situations that kept demanding my time and exhausting me emotionally. After a wild week, I needed normal.
God reminded me to be thankful for the normal days when not-normal kept coming at us. As we dealt with our own little swarm of craziness, far graver concerns emerged through prayer requests over a three day span. Not that they are ever minor issues, but the depth and scope of imminent heartbreak filled the sudden influx of requests.
As I wept over a few souls who desperately need a miracle from God, I felt the heat of embarrassment rise up in my cheeks at the very thought of rolling my eyes about cleaning toilets on a regular weekday. I am blessed to do the chores and make meals for my family…every day. I was reminded through the bedlam that “normal” – blesses kids (and adults) of all ages. Families need routine and are secure when they know what to expect.
You know what? The company that purchased my husband’s employer will provide a several-months’ severance package. I am teaching online and will freelance until God grants me a new employer. My daughter’s fall on her wrist could have been so much worse. Our life is slowly returning to normal this week while others are experiencing life altering circumstances where normal will never be the same again.
The next time I feel the need to break routine when the monotony of life feels stifling, I think I’ll stand on my head for a minute (I’m no yogini so I’ll lean against the living room wall of course). I’d rather “leave normal” on my own terms the next time I start silently grumbling how bored I am.
I’m going to praise God that while life is unpredictable, He’s still on the throne and “normal” is darn good.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.