the writings of Sue Berger

I Just Wanna Be Normal

I’m not normal. To those of you who know me well, you may now roll your eyes and sigh. But honestly, this came as a bit of a shock to me. I think of myself as pretty average, middle-of-the-road, normal. Grasping for equilibrium, I looked up the word: According with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle; conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern; occurring naturally; of, relating to, or characterized by average intelligence or development; free from mental disorder. Okay, so the last entry might be borderline for me…I hear you snickering.

So, what brought me to this revelation? I recently had opportunity to participate in a series of online marketing surveys concerning consumer activity and preferences. Being an average “Jane”, I knew I’d be able to give perfectly balanced input to these companies in developing future products that I’ll be using. After all, it would be in my best interest!

Every few days, I received a new survey regarding an aspect of life and a particular related product line. The first few questions would determine if I qualified to participate in the day’s survey. Ah, you’re ahead of me. Yes, this is where the dawning of my non-normalcy began. For starters, I’m too healthy. I’m not on prescriptions drugs or have a cabinet full of over-the-counter varieties, I don’t drink sodas (diet or regular), I don’t shop exclusively in the snack food aisles of the grocery store, don’t chain-smoke or drink beer by the case. My dining out habits are lacking too as I’m not frequenting the fast food establishments multiple times per week (or day, as it seemed to imply some people do…scary thought). But it didn’t stop there. I’m apparently not playing enough video games (seems that FreeCell doesn’t count), I’m not shouldering my share of credit card debt and am driving a way-too-old car. I was being declined for survey after survey and starting to feel very un-American as the evidence piled up against me. I didn’t fit the profile. I didn’t qualify to express my opinion. In short, I wasn’t a normal consumer.

While my ego was being crushed, I have to confess that I also began to develop a rather self-righteous attitude about my clean and wholesome lifestyle. Yes, I did get to participate in a few surveys about household cleaning products, wine consumption (barely squeaked in with my glass at dinner every evening), and self-funded retirement accounts. Pretty exciting stuff, let me tell you! Since my acceptable input was so sparse, I dropped the program. My morale was taking a beating. I hate rejection! I just want to be accepted; part of something. I want to be normal. Or do I? Or am I?

Thank God I am acceptable to him. One would be hard pressed to define “normal” based on the behavior of those recorded in the Bible. The characters span the spectrum from squeaky clean to downright scum. But from God’s eternal vantage point, he found them to be terribly normal and he says he loves them and desires that they all be his precious children. His desire hasn’t changed. We’re all precious to him, no matter where we fall on the normal-scale.

And that my friend, is Good News!

– Sue Berger

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© 2008 One Pilgrim's Musings

About Sue

From a "normal" childhood with a working dad & stay-at-home mom, to a Bible-college and borderline-cult church; now in the midst of an almost-40-year marriage to my college sweetheart and currently a massage therapist, life is interesting! Through it all, God has been patient, faithful & gracious. I'm pleased to share my life's observations with you. Enjoy!