Abnormally Normal

By Michael Temple

Photo by Pexel

You’re not normal, and neither am I. In fact, I’ve been hard-pressed to find anyone who can sum up what “normal” looks like. If you were to query a number of articles written by mental health professionals regarding the subject of being “normal,” you would discover a cadre of individuals with differing opinions. I’m absolutely sure of this because I looked at a wide range of articles after someone recently asked me, “What does normal actually look like?” The opinions in those articles were all over the board about this seemingly nebulous topic.
 
Normal:
  1. Conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural;
  2. Serving to establish a standard.[1]
Even the dictionaries that I perused seem rather indistinct when regarding what can be constituted as “normal” in a given situation. One would think that this word would be accompanied by a sentence that accurately sums up what we can expect from someone who is “normal,” but alas, it only seems to further cloud the waters of understanding.
 
It would appear that one’s conception of “normal” is subject to change, depending on the circumstances that surround the individual. Logo-therapist and Nazi concentration camp survivor, Viktor Frankl, speaks about his experiences during the holocaust in terms that are both grave and hopeful. His words regarding the human condition, and our response to the tough situations that we often find ourselves in, give us pause to reconsider our “normality.” 
 
“Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how.'" —Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning.
 
This quote is not an ethereal hypothesis from some well-meaning philosopher; it is borne on the backs of individuals who were placed in relentless and horrific circumstances that were far beyond their personal control. Having a "why” makes living through the situational normal of "how" much more bearable.
 
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2, NASB).
 
Life is not cured, it’s managed. We’re not normal…because life throws things at us that are abnormal. Our response to these unexpected challenges by relying on the God Who knows what “normal” looks like can help us cope with the daily day of living in an abnormal world.

[1] dictionary.reference.com