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'Normal' is never what we think it is
Senior moments
Rich DeLong is the executive director of Station Exchange Senior Care. - photo by File photo

“Normal is a setting on your washing machine!”

That’s how my pastor started his sermon last week. And he’s right. If I asked 10 people, “What is normal?” I’d get 10 different answers. Nowadays, when someone says it’s up, another will say it’s down. It’s hard to be sure of anything.

This trend is not new. I was in a leadership conference 20 years ago, and the speaker was talking about how things at work were “kind of crazy.” One of his co-workers said he couldn’t wait for things to get back to “normal.” He looked at his associate and said, “Normal ain’t coming back.”

Maybe, just maybe, that is the key to satisfying this unreasonable desire for normalcy in our lives, to realize that normal isn’t really something that we can define. Could it be that what we considered normal is just a figment of our imagination?

Life overall is very unpredictable, which complicates the idea of “normal” even more. And as we age, you can bet that what was once thought of as normal does not even come close to hitting the mark today.

And age alone is not the only factor that can turn our lives upside down and cause us to feel stress. Last week was the fourth anniversary of the death of my sister; she passed away on my father’s birthday. Talk about stress. Where my heart really aches is for her son, Jeff. He is having a difficult time piecing his life back together. His mom was his guiding light.

According to, events such as the death of a loved one, divorce, moving, a major illness or job loss are still the top five stressors in life. Add such things as side effects from medications, being in an accident, not getting enough rest, loss of independence, financial worries, change in weather and seasons, — the list can go on forever — and the word “normal” does not even make it into your vocabulary.

But take heart, because in this dream world of ours is one thing that never changes. And that is hope. Worldly thinking will always produce hopelessness. So we must rise above all of our earthly concerns in order to focus on things above.

Easier said than done, right? Yes, but certainly not unachievable. It is why we have something called faith. The biblical definition of faith is placing trust in God’s nature and his fidelity to his promises. That assures us of his love for us and leads back to hope. And that, my friend, is how we keep pressing onward in this rather abnormal life we lead.

The hardest thing in life to bear, is wanting your mom and she is not there. So forgive us if we still weep, for a mom we love and long to keep. The sorrow we feel I cannot explain, the ache in our hearts will long remain. But the hope of our Lord will be forever; and unite us once more, in heaven together.

God bless you, Jeff. Keep looking upward!

Contact DeLong at 912-531-7867 or email him at:

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