“Life won’t ever be normal again.”“The way it used to be” wasn’t normal either, because normal is an illusion. Every life is different, every set of circumstances unique. The good old days weren’t perfect. Blessings and trials coexist in all situations.Question: Have you experienced a change that made you feel that life wouldn’t ever return to “normal? I’d like to hear your comments.

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Something happened. Illness, injury, death, or loss changed the fundamental character of the journey. Immersed in grief, it’s nearly impossible to avoid the overpowering sense that “normal” is forever lost.

Normal used to include walking, biking, and writing legibly. Now I use a wheelchair, ride a hand cycle, and type on a computer. Obviously the injury altered the nature of my daily activities, but does the change render my new existence “abnormal?”

One central theme of Relentless Grace traces my struggle to address this issue. For a long time I felt isolated by my altered abilities, convinced that I no longer shared the “normal” world with all of the other normal people. I still wrestle at times with this sense that I’m deficient because I’m different.

This isn’t simply an intellectual exercise or a matter of semantics, because words contain immense power. The words we use to describe our self-perceptions significantly impact how we view and interact with the world.

If I’m not normal, I’m abnormal, somehow different than I’m supposed to be. I felt that way for a long time, but eventually I learned the painful lesson that “change” doesn’t mean abnormal.


The only certainty in life is uncertainty. Things change, and unfortunately some of those changes involve pain and loss. I don’t have to like or celebrate the pain, but if I characterize my new circumstances as “abnormal” I diminish my ability to adjust, survive, and thrive.

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