Normal Has Wings

Last weekend, I drove to work with two jars of muddy water in my car. The illustration was simple: the human soul is like a jar of river water. Shake it up and everything gets murky, let it settle and we can see more clearly. Of everything I said in my seminar that night, participants remember the jars of water best.

I first encountered this illustration in Ruth Haley Barton’s book, Invitation to Solitude and Silence. It was my junior year of college and the reality of future changes loomed. God used that book to name the chaos in my soul and invite me to live differently.

I wish I could say I’ve been faithful to God’s invitation to silence as a regular practice, but that just isn’t true. Much of my life is lived in a chaotic sort of normal, and times of silence are more often a treat than my bread and butter. Most days I cave to the easy but hollow forms of rest offered by my phone apps rather than reaching for practices that truly still the chaos.

Silence is way to chart a new course for my soul, and silence is a place of clarity I need right now as I navigate a world permanently altered by the pandemic. What about you?

Normal Has Wings

Everywhere we turn
We are still      reaching
Normal is     around    the bend
One more hoop
One more shot
One more milestone

Normal has wings
Flying fast           and far
Soaring        high into the blue
Just beyond reach
Just about out of sight
Just put it out of mind

Eyes heavenward    squinting
We wait    with bated breath
The second coming of Normal
Running from change
Running from grief
Running from better

On and on     we wander
Tripping over chances
Fleeing from opportunities
Feet unavoidably grounded
Feet muddy and sore
Feet feeling Reality

What if we     stopped
Let Normal soar        away
Waved goodbye fondly
Turning to the present
Turning to the needs at hand
Turning without looking back

Still at last        we feel
Cool earth under our feet
Hardship and Hope all wrapped up
In this earthy Reality
In this moment
In this together

©2021 Jacqueline Tisthammer. All rights reserved.

Photo by Artem Pechenkin on Unsplash

4 thoughts on “Normal Has Wings

  1. I loved your poem, Jackie. Beautifully written. And — oh yes — I could use silence in my life. A time to be alone with God, to think, to just be still and be His child.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jackie, appreciate your honesty and longing for silence. And your poem really resonated with me. Your poem is a gift from the time you’ve given to silence.
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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