What is normal?

How many times have you wondered or even asked someone if something - the way your spouse reacts to things, the manner in which your child is acting, the appearance or feeling of your body, the pattern your career is taking - was normal? There seems to be a great human yearning to compare our own experience with some standard, and then to feel relieved if it coincides with this norm, or fearful and worried if it doesn't.

What is our standard? Is it simply the majority opinion or the prevailing percentage of like occurrences, whether these be good or bad? A dictionary defines ''normal'' as ''according to, constituting, or not deviating from an established norm, rule, or principle.'' Man-made rules, or laws, vary from place to place and time to time. But God's law never changes. So when we begin wondering if some condition is normal, we might measure it against unvarying divine law, law that derives from the very Principle of the universe - God Himself. The Discoverer of Christian Science and founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, states, ''God's law is in three words, 'I am All;' and this perfect law is ever present to rebuke any claim of another law.'' n1

n1 No and Yes, p. 30

Permanent peace of mind comes only as we recognize ''normal'' as according to God's law, the law of good. God, or good, is infinite, All. Therefore His law is not limited to one particular period, place, action, appearance, or pattern. It is not confined in anything. It is infinitely and eternally expressed by man and the universe in countless individual forms of goodness. Good is a characteristic of man as God's image. Therefore, whatever does not express the spiritual fact of ever-present good in man and the universe is not normal.

Normal can't, in the truest sense, be defined in terms of matter or limitation - height, weight, time, action, place, number of objects, or number of promotions. Normal is that which is in accord with God's law, the law of ever-present good, which rebukes ''any claim of another law,'' any claim that evil is normal under certain circumstances or at certain times. ''Yes,'' we can answer, confidently, ''all I can experience is normalcy, harmony, because good, God, is the only genuine cause and lawmaker. What God is causing at this moment is in accord with His established law; it is normal, and therefore good.'' Sticking with these spiritual facts, knowing them to be eternal truth, we'll prove them in our own lives.

Our family can certainly attest to this. The large company my father worked for kept him in the same position for about twelve years - not normal when compared to many others' experiences. However, after those twelve years he was given two quick promotions, and literally skipped a step on the corporate ladder , finishing his career in a far higher position than would have been considered normal. More than this, those twelve so-called stagnant years were spent happily with his growing family, and all along he was knowing, realizing, that good alone is normal and therefore can be perpetually felt and expressed.

The Bible is filled with illustrations showing the superiority of God's law over so-called material laws. Christ Jesus, our supreme Exemplar, didn't acquiesce to the notion that it was normal for people who had never walked to remain immobile, normal for sinners to continue in sin, or normal for one who was crucified to die and never be seen again. He understood man's inseparable relationship to God, good, as normal, as according to divine law, and this was proved when the lame man was healed, the sinner repented, and Jesus himself reappeared after the cru-cifixion and was seen and touched byhis followers. Speaking of our great Master, Mrs. Eddy says: ''It was the consummate naturalness of Truth in the mind of Jesus, that made his healing easy and instantaneous. Jesus regarded good as the normal state of man, and evil as the abnormal. . . .'' n2

n2 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 200

Need we ever wonder, ''What is nor-mal?'' DAILY BIBLE VERSE The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: . . . The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. Pslams 19:7, 8

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