It seems like there is a memorial that many have attended; a service for the biggest celebrity of our times. The memorial is for Normal. I seem to be watching it die all around me in the weather, politics, how culture is viewed, social norms, etc. Maybe as a second half of life issue, I’m becoming that person in the rocking chair on the front porch with my cronies, talking about Normal before Normal died.
The vows of the Benedictine society are to obedience, stability, and conversion of life. Briefly, obedience rests in a listening heart. Who are you listening to? The response is God’s and Christ’s example. Stability is to the community and all that unfolds with that. Stability centers in the listening heart. Conversion of life is both the personal and communal commitment to always be growing and moving closer to God and others.
What I love about these vows is they recognize that normal is good and yet normal is not God; that normal is always evolving into the new normal and that is a process. Like any grief process it has its stages, yet in a contemplative life, letting go of Normal is normal. That is not the focus. After all, the death of one person’s Normal might be the cause of celebration for another. Think of segregation, women’s rights, etc.
If you find yourself mourning the loss of Normal in this season of great change, know you are not alone. Honor your grieving process and cling to a listening heart because God is in the midst of the transition. Listen with your heart, stand with community, and embrace that this new Normal is an opportunity to draw closer to God and others.
Pathways of Grace is in the midst of embracing a new Normal and over the next few weeks, I’ll fill you in about how it is evolving. This week, find ways to notice your relationship with Normal. How does it impact your listening heart?