Monday, December 30, 2013

Normal Snowflakes

People are not normal.

Ask any family and they will say they, as a group, are crazy. I am not questioning the truth of the statement. Most families are, in fact, crazy, especially when they’re all together. My own family has a tendency towards craziness, or maybe riotousness. Anyone who’s ever been in the same room with us will tell you that when we’re all talking at once and we can’t hear each other, we fix it all by shouting louder. It doesn’t bother most of us, because we’re used to it. And things get crazy.

The thing is, no matter how uniquely crazy I thought my family is, I’ve realized that other people think the same things about their families. 

Is it just that people want to be unusual, unique, that humans have an inborn desire to stand out, at least privately? So they claim craziness in an effort to avoid being ordinary?

Or is it that “normal” is a myth, that in reality, people are never normal.

Normal, according to the dictionary, is a noun or an adjective referring to the usual, average, typical state or condition of things.
And in some ways there is such a thing. There is a normal body temperature, normal childhood development, normal weather for this time of year. Normal in that sense can be a good thing. It implies that, good or bad, this is to be expected and can be survived. 

But is there such a thing as a normal person? An average person? What characterizes the “typical human being?”

There are normal people according to many books and movies. High schools have the jock who plays football, and the nerd who is ostracized, and the mean girl, who is always beautiful and a cheerleader. (Did it ever occur to them that ugly people are capable of meanness too?)
But in real life people don’t go in the little boxes that fictional people can be trimmed to fit into. And even in fiction the best characters are the ones that are far from normal. The ones that break barriers, are anything but average, and stand out.

Saying “a normal person” is like saying “a normal snowflake.” 
Sure, they’re all made of frozen water and they all have six sides. They’re all the same, normal, as long as you don’t look too close.
But look at a snowflake under a microscope and it is a wonder of crystal ice and glassy lace.

Get to know a person, a family, a group of people and they are unique and marvelous individual creations of God.

There are no normal people.