Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

New Normal
“I can’t wait till things get back to normal.”

Have you said those words recently?

Normal. The good old days. A slower pace. Less hectic. Fewer troubles. Happier times.

Not like it is today. Today has health problems. Doctor appointments. Conflicts. Struggles to find time—and energy—to accomplish the bare minimum on our to-do list.

I’m right there with you. The weekly class I teach ended last week. And in the past couple of days, several people made the same comment: “You must be enjoying your free time.”

What free time?

Our schedule for just one day this week included:

9:00am        Doctor appointment
10:00            Car repair appointment
11:00            Invisible Fence repair (for controlling our two crazy dogs!)
12:00            Termite warranty inspection
1:00pm         Doctor appointment
6:45               Bible study class

I know I’m not alone. Your days may be similar. Not all your days, of course. But many of them.

Welcome to the new normal.

Our new normal began in January, with hubby’s surgery. His cancer diagnosis was worrisome, but the doctors laid out a treatment plan that included chemotherapy and radiation.

I heard those words and in my impatient nature, started calculating dates. Six weeks of recovery from surgery. Eight weeks of chemo. Six weeks of radiation. Twelve weeks of additional chemo. That should bring us to August 11.

But I soon learned it doesn’t work that way. A few weeks added between chemo and radiation. Then a few more weeks between radiation and chemo. And now the target end date is in October.


Did I mention my impatient nature? Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory aired on television again this week. Remember that movie? I can so relate to one of the characters, a little girl named Veruca Salt. Veruca’s crowning moment in the movie arrives when she sings her solo, I Want It Now.

It’s not her greed I relate to, it’s her impatience. “I want it now.” And when it comes to hubby’s healing, I confess, my natural inclination is to want the cancer to end now.

But that’s not how things work in our broken, sin-sick world. While hubby is being treated, I’m learning patience. (Sigh. You’d think I would have learned that lesson already. I thought I had, but, well…enough said.)

Still, it’s not all bad. We’re closer than we’ve ever been in 39 years of marriage. We’re both trusting the Lord daily. Of course, I want his healing now, and we’re hopeful, but we’re also content to rest in God’s sovereignty for whatever He will allow.

So this is our new normal. Taking one day at a time as we hurry up and wait. Really, isn’t one day at a time the only way to live? After all, no one knows what tomorrow will bring, if we even have tomorrow. I don’t mean that in a morbid way; just being realistic. And in that realism, I’m appreciating the preciousness of each new day. Relishing the moments. As a beloved friend who’s undergoing her own health crisis recently wrote me:

“Appreciate all that is important in life…the love of God and the blessings of every breath you take…the moments that grab your heart and soul…every day a miracle.”

New normal or not, every day really is a miracle. That’s both enough and more than I have a right to ask for.

How about you? Are you waiting for something? Or are you caught up in the frenzy of troubled days? What is your new normal?

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  1. Kimberly

    Thanks Ava for sharing your struggle. My new normal came last year with my oldest going off to college. Our lives had revolved around taking our children everywhere or going to every event they were in. Suddenly we found ourselves with lots of extra time and quietness in the house. (Our youngest is still in the house but she is 16 and doesn’t like to hang out with us much). I began to struggle with what my new purpose was and God really taught me my purpose is to be still and love him and get close to him. I’m learning it’s ok not to be running in 10 different directions. It’s ok to sit and read my devotions, bible and even books! I’m still a work in progress but waiting to see what God has for me in this new Normal.

  2. Ava Pennington

    Oh, Kimberly…love how you’ve allowed your new normal to draw you closer to the Lord!

  3. Patricia Bean

    hi ava, i adopted the phrase new normal after my mom’s first stroke and ended up editing it with the subsequent ones…..and i was convinced that with each adjustment she was hoping i’d develop patience (the gene that skipped me on both sides), and i think that the ‘new normal’ became an acceptance of reality…..while harry (my crazy puppy) tries my patience daily, riley (the older one) keeps me sane and grounded…..riley is the last gift my mom gave me – we rescued each other 7 years ago today, and that night mom had another stroke and ended up living the next 10 months in a nursing home…..i just think that each stage of our life brings about change, and that forces us to adjust and hopefully, if we are lucky we take some time to appreciate the change – what we lost and what we gain! thinking of you and russ all the time and sympathizing with the crazy puppy issues….i keep hoping he’ll grow out of it soon and remind myself to cherish the crazy antics and utter joy of life thru his eyes!

  4. Ava Pennington

    Yes, Pat, change is the one constant in the seasons of life.
    Had to laugh when we received your note about Harry’s antics. Reminded me so much of our 2 mischievous pups!
    In the meantime, I share your desire to hold on to the joy of life!

  5. Linette Rehkopf

    Praying for you Ava! Nicely written!

  6. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Linette.

  7. Sharon Russell

    Thank you for encouraging me to appreciate each day. I needed to be reminded.

  8. Ava Pennington

    So do I, Sharon!

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