We have all heard the phrase… Life Happens. It has been poured over us like warm honey on a cold day. Our mothers, sisters, sister-girls, cousins, best friends, boyfriends, teachers, preachers and even our postman have used it to describe the theory of life! It happens. It (Life) happens in various ways to different people. Sometimes it comes in the form of a tiny new baby that stays woke all night long crying. To others it comes in the form of a new job, or a new house, or a new spouse! Others find that "it" happens at the gravesite when they must wave their final goodbye to a loved one. Some have sensed "it" happening at the end of a hospital bed when the doctor gives heartbreaking news or a terminal diagnosis.
Often after the announcement, the initial feeling of loss or grief, there is a long tunnel in your soul that you are trying to escape. You’re trying to learn to navigate it and get out. Some people start running, figuratively and realistically to get out of the tunnel. But there is no escape. This is the new normal. Life will never be the same after this event, situation, and circumstance. It’s never going to be business as usual. Your normal has changed. It has a new attitude, disposition and focus and it’s NEW.
I remember vividly the day my mother passed away and my normal was made new. I kept saying as I called lawyers to get custody of my sister, “If mom was here”. In my new normal, my mom was not here and I had to learn to navigate the waters alone. I went into survival mode. You know survival mode is known as FIGHT, FLIGHT, or FREEZE.
Fight – You come out of the old normal swinging like your life depends on it, and it does. You come out in full battle gear. Nothing and no one can stop you. You have a singular focus! That focus is to survive. To push with all your might past the tears, the hurt, the depression, the anger, the sadness, the pain and fight like you’ve never fought before. It’s a battle every day and you have determined that you will be the victor. The last woman standing. You Fight!
Flight – You run faster than Forrest Gump! You run like your life depends on it and it does! Some run in the natural realm. They run marathons, they run every morning at the break of day; they run 5Ks every weekend. Some run figuratively as they search for the solution to the new normal at the bottom of a liquor bottle, or the back room of a strip club or at the slot machines at the casino. Some search for it in the refrigerator or their favorite restaurant. Others search for it at the shopping malls, in the latest name brands, at the counter of the phone company. Some believe they have found it, when they get 100 likes on social media. They run, too afraid to stand still and face reality.
Freeze – You stand still. Real still. Almost like if you don’t think about the event, the circumstance, you don’t have to deal with it. You win at the mannequin challenge. You stand in the same spot for years, as life passes in front of you. Your smile is one of yesterday, your memories too. You’re too afraid to move forward. It’s too painful to look back, so you stay glued to the same spot for years. Presidents have changed, Fads have changed, but you my dear friend have remained the same. Stagnated by your new normal.
So what do you do when life happens? What do you do when your normal is new?
Life does happen! No matter how much you loved a relationship or a friendship, it’s bound to change. Sometimes the change is growth and sometimes the change is total loss. When my mom died, I was in fight mode. It was the survival of the fittest. Determined to survive, I stayed in that mode for 15 years. But did you know that you’re supposed to be in FIGHT, FLIGHT, or FREEZE mode for only 1 – 2 hours? 15 years! Embrace your new normal. Accept that facts, whatever they are. My mother is gone. My 10 – year old sister needs me to feed her daily. Those were the facts.
LOOK FOR THE BEAUTY IN THE BAD!
Whew! I rested each day on Romans 8:28. All Things work together for the good of those who love the Lord, who are the called according to His purpose. I realized two things: 1) ALL things worked… So this thing (my mother’s death) was included in all things. 2) I had purpose. Sometimes I still struggle with this one. What I think my purpose is and what God knows my purpose is. But one thing that I did, was constantly look for the good. My mom left a beautiful legacy. She could out sing every bird in the sky. Every morning she woke up with a song. I still do that. I sing in spurts. Answer your phone when I call, I can normally be found singing a song as the phone rings. #TrueStory. My mom loved people. Hence, her profession as a nurse. As a result of her death, I saw so many people that she’d touched, so many lives. I was proud of her. She touched my sister and me and in turn, a wonderful organization was created to honor her memory and we continue her legacy of love, light, and lifting… San’s Child (www.sanschild.org). There is beauty in the bad!
TALK IT OUT!
There is an ugly stigma that keeps us bound in our communities. We hide behind strength. Strength is great. But everyone needs an outlet. I am a proponent of therapy. But if you are not, find a sister friend, a stranger at the library and talk. Yep, I have shared some things with strangers in passing that I haven’t shared with the people closest to me.
This is the new normal. Learn to live with it. Once a life-changing moment occurs in our lives, we are rarely ever the same. #Embraceit, #Lookforthebeautyinthebad, and #Talkitout! Welcome the newness of the #NEWNORMAL. Sometimes our greatest blessings are often born from our brokenness.