Getting back to normal

Marge Fenelon

I've been thinking a lot about the word normal lately. I wonder what it really means. The dictionary defines it as something that's regular or natural, something that adheres to a particular standard. I don't know about you, but there isn't a single aspect of my own life that conforms to that definition!

The other day at Mass, I heard the familiar sound of a lancet device clicking and candy wrappers crunching. The woman who often sits behind us is diabetic and these were the sounds of her treating herself for a low blood glucose level. She goes through this routine nearly every day at Mass, and I thought to myself that's normal for her; it's a part of her daily routine.

Over and over again I've been hearing eager parents talk about the back to school rush and comment about how nice it will be to finally get back to normal once the kids have started school. It seems that the morning rush to get people dressed, make lunches, load the van and cart each one to his or her destination for them is normal.

A dear friend of mine recently underwent a mastectomy. I was surprised to see her this past Sunday attending Mass with her family, just as always. She needed to do the things that she usually does so that she could start to feel normal again. Her normal will never be the same.

Today,  #3 moves out of the house and into an apartment with some other students. For most people this is a regular part of growing up and of families evolving. Kids grow up and forge their own way in the world; that's the way it's supposed to be. But for our family it means finding a “new normal” to which we can adapt.

So what is normal, really? Is it the way things used to be or the way things are? How do we learn to adapt?

The other day a priest from Germany visited our home. He told us about a book that he was reading, a book that is presently on the bestseller list in his country. The book is about happiness and what makes us truly happy in this life. The psychologist who wrote it concluded that happiness is found in what he calls flow. Flow is the way one thing gracefully moves into another and life progresses in a kind of stream that carries us from the beginning to the end. The priest concluded that flow is holiness. By this he meant that if we live in the present moment, with our mind and heart set on God's will for us, if we move along in the spirit of humility, if we lovingly accept both our strengths and weaknesses, and if we allow ourselves to be formed as true children of the Father, then we have flow.

So when I think about the word normal I also have to think about the word flow. Life continues to change and to challenge each of us, and that's normal. Sometimes those changes and challenges will shake us to our very roots; sometimes they will make us suffer and sometimes they will bring us to the heights of joy. But if we can prayerfully and graciously go with the flow, everything will feel normal, no matter what God's will holds in store for us.

Topics: Family , Health , Personal Growth

Marge Fenelon is a Catholic author, columnist, and speaker. She's the author of When's God Gonna Show Up? and When's God Gonna Call Me Back? (Liguori Publications) and a regular columnist for the Milwaukee Catholic Herald. She and her husband, Mark, have four mostly-grown children and are members of the International Schoenstatt Movement. Visit her website at www.margefenelon.com

View all articles by Marge Fenelon

Ads by Google
(What's this?)


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)



Abortion (42)  Advent & Christmas (19)  Beauty (2)  Bioethics (4)  Books (55)  Church history (14)  Church teaching (28)  Contraception (22)  Culture (119)  Current Events (85)  Dating (15)  Death (4)  Depression (14)  Divorce (7)  Education (12)  Eucharist (3)  Exercise (3)  Faith (213)  Family (86)  Fashion (5)  Feminism (12)  Fertility (2)  Fitness (1)  Food (2)  Forgiveness (17)  Friendship (18)  Generosity (2)  Girl Scouts (2)  Grieving (1)  Health (23)  Home Management (17)  Humor (14)  Leadership (4)  Lent & Easter (12)  Liturgical Year (9)  Marian devotion (8)  Marriage (33)  Mature Years (5)  Meditations (17)  Mental illness (1)  Mercy (1)  Military Families (2)  Ministry (4)  Miscarriage (1)  Motherhood (55)  Movies (1)  Music (4)  Natural Family Planning (2)  Nutrition (4)  Parenting (44)  Personal Growth (105)  Politics (3)  Pornography (3)  Prayer (31)  Pro-Life (26)  Psychology (1)  Reflections (4)  Relationships (44)  Religious freedom (10)  Saints (9)  Scripture (6)  Service (8)  Sexuality (18)  Single years (4)  Social justice (1)  Social Networking (5)  Special Needs (3)  Spirituality (2)  Suffering (13)  Suicide (1)  Travel (11)  Welcome (1)  Women in the Church (3)  Women's Health (20)  Workplace (12)  Writings of the Saints (8)  Young Women (39) 


Liturgical Calendar

April 18, 2014

Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday)

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Is 52:13-53:12
Second Reading:: Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel:: Jn 18:1-19:42

Homily of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: