An oak tree paid an unfriendly visit to the home of Charles and Pat Schaible in Macon, Ga.  Many homes across several states fared better and others far worse during recent, wrathful storms.

By John D. Pierce

Flooding in Texas and beyond and Irma’s blast to the Southeast have upset the normal pace of life for millions of Americans, as well as others on some devastated islands. For some the pain is long lasting while for others the wrathful weather simply brought inconveniences.

Heroic first responders and restorers headed into the storms while others were fleeing. Long-term efforts are required in so many places where life was lost or upended in trying ways.

To a lesser degree, social media communities compared storm damage and power outages. Despite communication limitations, family, friends and strangers checked on one another.

A common question of residents and reporters is: “How long until things are back to normal?”

In a physical sense, such restoration varies over a very long time. In a spiritual sense, however, getting back to normal is not a worthy goal.

Often “normal” is too impersonal and in too big of a hurry. Normal can be too insensitive and too wrapped up in self-interest. Normal too easily divides along political, racial, ethnic and gender lines.

During challenging times we tend to do better than normal. We are more aware, more helpful and more concerned.

Prayers continue for those who stand in great need at this time and for those giving so much — often at personal risk — to bring comfort, security, hope and a sense of normalcy to their lives.

In a larger sense, however, all of our lives would be more hopeful, joyful and meaningful — day-in and day-out — if we don’t settle for normal but pursue better.

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