Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Different Kind of Normal

I had conversation with a women I met today at our local grocery store. We ran into each other because our children looked to be the same age and we both looked like we understood English. We got to talking and it was the typical where are you from etc. that you have when you meet someone over here.

It wasn’t a special conversation, just two people jumping at the opportunity to speak English. But during her introduction she mentioned that they were a pretty normal family.


I laughed inside because I have no idea what that means anymore.
What does it mean to be normal?

Well, I can tell you what my normal was two years ago. It included squeezing as many people into our little seminary duplex as we can fit to watch our favorite American TV show, taking several trips a week to the grocery store and easily finding everything I need at a price I was willing to pay, driving my Hyundai around town whenever I needed to, spending the afternoon teaching children afterschool things like sports and how to draw, sleeping in until who knows how long because I didn’t need to be at work until two, meeting friends at restaurants like Chickfila, Chipotle and Pei Wei. That was my normal.

I can assure you that is not my normal now.

Life has changed drastically for me in the past few years. What is my normal now? My normal is riding my bike down a busy highway with my son riding on the back when we need to go anywhere, balancing five bags of groceries on my bike coming home from the grocery store, using crowded public transit systems to get anywhere that I cannot bike to, crowding as many people in our 500 square foot apartment as we can so we can enjoy each other’s company and have a meal together (ok, so we’ve been doing that a long time), chasing around a busy 22 month old beginning at 7am every morning, visiting import stores in hopes to find the one thing you are craving from home, hearing Japanese around me constantly and wishing so much that I could speak it and doing ridiculous hand movements to try to get someone to understand what you need. Tatami floors and complicated trash pick up. That is my normal.

And it sounds crazy to the typical person. Why on earth would anyone want to do that?

We could both have 9 to 5 jobs in a 1500 square foot home.We could have a backyard, with a dog. We could settle into a place and get comfortable.

But for me, that sounds crazy. For me that isn’t normal. And I like it that way.
Our life screams adventure and new experiences. It stretches us so thin sometimes that we have nothing else to do but to watch God provide, and oh He does. It makes us think harder, learn quicker and love more. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I love our normal. Our normal is beautiful to me.

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