Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Normal: Whatever we're used to
Ditching school, shoplifting, hating Dad's newest girlfriend, no one home after school, cruising the streets with gang-bangers, coke, meth, weed, fast money, pregnant teenage cousin, tatoos and revealing clothes. That was normal for Dawn and everyone in her neighborhood in East LA.
But changing "normal" meant Dawn had to believe in something so much better, something she had never experienced, and she was ready to take that risk. When Dawn started to see that she could actually go back to school and do well, that she could get rid of the drugs and even the desire for them, that God was actually answering her prayers and that she could rise above her past, "normal" took on a whole new meaning. It was as if the clouds parted and a beam of light came piercing into her soul. Her children saw it clearly and loved who she was turning into. Her family members began to come to church, tatooed, pierced and with rap sheets a mile long. They cried, they prayed they testified about what God was doing in their lives and how they would never go back - ever.
But with time, Dawn heard another voice in her head: "You're not one of these people. You've never held down a job in your life. No one in your family has ever held down an honest job. You belong on the streets. Who do you think you are?"
After a year of wonderful victories, of seeing her children blossom and grow in faith, in character and in happiness, Dawn slipped back into that old comfortable pit of "normal". Her kids begged her to take them to church. But she chose that old voice over a new life, and slowly her brothers and their families fell away too.
Dawn's case was so sad and so maddening to see, true. But how about us? How much do we accept as "normal" what in actuality is so far from what God wants for us? Half-hearted prayers, nominal faith, minimum concern for others, worries and fears that block out His voice...Could be that our "normal" is just as senseless as Dawn's.