Three: Normal

“Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.”  ~Albert Camus
The energy my two children with Aspergers put into acting normal in public would blow your mind. Even when they are seemingly a bit wild or incredibly reserved, they are doing everything in their power to hold themselves together and act appropriately. 

Some mornings, getting out of bed is akin to running five miles for me. Making it out of the house takes tremendous energy and an ability to move through incredible pain. Then, it takes even more energy to appear as normal as possible. Most people don't realize the severity or extent of my illness because of the cloak of normal that I put on as a matter of habit.

Then there are those who use their energy to appear happy with life, when inside they are being eaten up with anxiety, depression, or other mental illness. Their life can be minute to minute struggle, yet their appearance deceives most.

Many people we encounter on a daily basis are struggling in some form while exerting themselves in body, mind, or spirit in an attempt to simply be or act normal. If we could just hold on to this thought and keep it in mind through all our interactions, perhaps there would be more compassion and less need to be normal in the world. 

One of my family's greatest blessings is the Epoch Arts Homeschool Co-op community, where normal is over-rated and yourself is the thing to be. It is here where I can curl up on a couch and be miserable all day, not feeling badly for not running after children or helping clean up - although I do tend to gather other people's children on the couch with me to read or talk or play. It is in this place that my children relax and are themselves. It is here that who you are - whoever you are - is normal. It is in this place we find rest. 

Many people appear normal. Appearances can be deceiving. Please don't judge a person until you've walked, or hobbled, or jumped up and down repeatedly in their shoes. Better yet, don't judge others at all. From what I've experienced, normal isn't as normal as you'd think.


Forty Days: In Thought, Word, and Deed


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