I’ve been working on two immense projects, and the deadlines for both of them are looming large. No matter how much work I seem to accomplish on them, I don’t seem to be any further ahead.

A couple nights ago the ball bearings broke and the tire snapped on the Headmaster’s car while he was driving home from work. He’s fine. The car is in the shop. We have four drivers and two vehicles, and we live 12 miles from anywhere (44 miles from the Headmaster’s work).

The Head Girl and I own a space in a new antique mall/consignment store/thrift shop venture nearby. The dates the owner has chosen to open up for the vendors to stock their booths corresponds almost perfectly with the worst possible dates for us in the entire year. We just found that out today.

We have a leaky roof, and it’s leaking right over one of my bookshelves. The books are out of shelves and stacked in tidy piles in my room. One of the piles is about waist high. Two of them are hip-high. Then there are the various knee-hi stacks. Make a joke about panty hose and I will not be amused. I do not know what to do with them.

I may (or may not, too soon to tell) be having a repeat or a flair up of some previous health issues. Meanwhile, I’ve been in better physical health before, and I’ve been more comfortable before, too.

We have one working window air conditioner that doesn’t even cool one room. It’s been around 100 degrees with humidity about the same. We use lots of fans and we have legions of bugs.

We are building a new house, but not fast enough.

You get the picture.

Some fourteen years ago or so we had a new baby. She was really the easiest, gentlest, happiest baby we’ve ever had, but still, I remember a time when several minor crises and interruptions came up throughout the week, and I kept thinking to myself, “Well, these things will work out when we get back to normal.” About the hundredth time I said the ‘someday things will get back to normal’ mantra, I suddenly realized that there was no such thing as normal for us. We had a baby. She would be a toddler, a preschooler, a little girl learning her alphabet, and then there would be other new things for her to learn, and meanwhile, we’d move (being a military family at the time), and we’d have other new children, and we’d finish one topic and it would be time to learn a new one, and the rest of our lives we could be on the bleeding edge of learning something new, in life, in school, in our personal growth.
Normal, says Patsy Clairmont, is the setting on your drier. It’s not my life. It probably isn’t yours.

So I really got a kick out of this quote a very precious friend emailed to me earlier tonight:
“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination. This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it’s hard to remember it all the time.”

—The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (20 December 1943), para. 5, p. 499; quoted in The Quotable Lewis, (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 1989), 335.

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  1. Posted July 20, 2005 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    I so remember when reality hit me in this. It was the very first Saturday of being a mother – when I suddenly knew my child had no datebook, and there would be no ‘sleeping in.’ My husband and I discussed right then that life had turned into the ‘New Normal.’ Months later (that summer) we even talked about how vacation had changed forever – it was no longer ‘getting away’ but rather ‘living our life in a new location’ (and that was still wonderful, just different from how it had been).

    I like your quote about interruptions. I am often reminded that Jesus performed miracles on routes that, at the time, seemed to be detours (and maybe annoying ones at that, to the disciples, anyway). What looks like a detour is part of the divine plan, and I try to embrace that instead of balk at it. Notice I said “I try.” 😉

  2. Posted July 20, 2005 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Enjoyed that quote. :) Yes, I have often heard it said that “Life is what is happening to you while you make other plans” or something like that!

    Proverbs 19:21 –
    Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

  3. Posted July 20, 2005 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I remember when my eldest was a year-and-a-half. I was having a horrible day because of various things in my life that were well beyond my control. Things I pray my daughters will never have to encounter.

    Occasionally, in this life, I have heard God’s voice speaking quite clearly to me. On that particular day, I was feeling completely trapped by my circumstances when suddenly I heard, “What if this is as good as it gets?”. That single question has pretty much defined my life since then. I remember looking down at my daughter eating lunch at her little table in the kitchen and really seeing how precious she was. Suddenly noticing how the sun was cascading through the window and how blue the sky was that day. I got out my camera and took several pictures and, to this day, they remain some of my favorite pictures of my daughter.

    In this life, God only expects us to do what we are able. The things beyond our control we must turn over to him. Nothing is normal in this world we live in presently. If we set ourselves to what is directly in front of us, we can often see the beauty God has set right before our eyes.

    Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
    As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
    Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
    For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor things present, nor thing to come,
    Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Romans 8:35-39

  4. Posted July 20, 2005 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    On the books, it depends upon whether you need them accessible for the near future or not. If not, box those suckers up and store them under a tarp until the roof is fixed or the house is built.

    Of course, that assumes that you won’t need them. That’s a bit unrealistic. If you have dry wall space anywhere, I’d suggest stacking against that. The trick to doing this successfully is to start the stack an inch or two away from the wall and face the spines out. The books will gradually lean in toward the wall and be much less prone to tipping.

    I lived with all of my books in boxes for three years. I feel for you.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted July 6, 2006 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    A typical dictionary definition of hypnosis states that it is: a state that resembles sleep but that is induced by suggestion. However, anyone who has tried hypnosis (and any self respecting hypnotist) will tell you that this is a very simplistic view of the subject!
    A much better description comes from the Free Online Dictionary which states that hypnosis is: an artificially induced state of consciousness, characterised by heightened suggestibility and receptivity to direction. So what does this mean and how can it be used to your advantage?

    Well, the subject of hypnosis has been discussed and pondered since the late 1700s. Many explanations and theories have come and gone though science, however, has yet to supply a valid and well-established definition of how it actually happens. It’s fairly unlikely that the scientific community will arrive at a definitive explanation for hypnosis in the near future either, as the untapped resources of our ‘mostly’ uncharted mind still remain something of a mystery.
    However, the general characteristics of hypnosis are well documented. It is a trance state characterized by extreme suggestibility, deep relaxation and heightened imaginative functioning. It’s not really like sleep at all, because the subject is alert the whole time. It is most often compared to daydreaming, or the feeling you get when you watch a movie or read a captivating book. You are fully conscious, but you tune out most of the outside world. Your focus is concentrated intensely on the mental processes you are experiencing – if movies didn’t provide such disassociation with everyday life and put a person in a very receptive state then they would not be as popular (nor would TV advertising be as effective!). Have you ever stated that a film wasn’t great because you just couldn’t ‘get into it’???
    This works very simply; while daydream or watching a movie, an imaginary world becomes almost real to you because it fully engages your emotional responses. Such mental pursuits will on most occasions cause real emotional responses such as fear, sadness or happiness (have you ever cried at a sad movie, felt excited by a future event not yet taken place or shivered at the thought of your worst fear?).
    It is widely accepted that these states are all forms of self-hypnosis. If you take this view you can easily see that you go into and out of mild hypnotic states on a daily basis – when driving home from work, washing the dishes, or even listening to a boring conversation. Although these situations produce a mental state that is very receptive to suggestion the most powerful time for self-change occurs in the trance state brought on by intentional relaxation and focusing exercises. This deep hypnosis is often compared to the relaxed mental state between wakefulness and sleep.
    In this mental state, people feel uninhibited and relaxed and they release all worries and doubts that normally occupy their mind. A similar experience occurs while you are daydreaming or watching the TV. You become so involved in the onscreen antics

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