Today was normal.
I chatted with my mom this morning, for about a half or so, then got to work. I had a lot of meetings, scratched a lot off my to-do list. I encountered some irritating coworkers, rolled my eyes at a few comments here and there, prayed my prayers, read my devotional. Now it’s evening; my husband and I just finished a good dinner.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, marks today as special. Except that last October and into November, when my family and I entered the nightmare called Mom Is Sick and No One Knows Why, there was no normal. I didn’t chat with my mom on the phone in the mornings; she was too sick to talk. I worked with a gimlet eye on my phone, wondering and waiting: what’s going on? What tests are being run? What’s happening? When will Mom feel better, or will she ever feel better again? I fielded messages and calls of concern. My prayers and my prayer life rotated around this one particular concern. I lost my appetite.
So normal feels pretty good.
Well. Normal may be a bit of an overstatement. My mom is still going through chemo and all of its challenges—she reached the halfway point this week!—and the days aren’t always easy. But it could be so much harder than it is, and I know she’s grateful, and I am grateful, that treatment is a possibility, and that life feels even in the midst of chemotherapy a little bit more normal, more natural, than it did before. She can talk! She can eat! She can laugh and listen and care about life again! That wasn’t the case last fall.
Earlier today a colleague was laughingly showing a few other coworkers and I one of her old engagement photos. “I hate this picture,” she said. “I look fat in it.”
“You don’t,” responded another coworker. “And anyway I promise you, in ten years after you have been married and have kids and you have the married-and-kids body, you will look back at this picture and want your engagement body back again.”
While I generally hate hearing women disparage their appearances, I did recognize that particular sort of nostalgia: in the moment, we’re always hoping for better and different, but to future us, the past rarely looks so bad. The now that seems normal and boring might be for us, in years to come, a little taste of paradise on earth.
So I thought I’d write this post as a brief reminder that today with all its delights and annoyances was normal, and that normal is sometimes so good, its own gift from God, in a way that I know I will one day look back on and cherish. I hope your regular boring day is the same: a subtle manifestation of God’s good, a hint of what will one day be marvelous and perfected.
Have a great, regular week.