This year I took Brene Brown’s online vulnerability class. It was the first class provided through Oprah’s life class series. The class required a lot of soul-searching, but one lesson struck me the hardest. This enlightening lesson was that “happiness” is the presence of normalcy. The people, the routines, the things we take for granted, are the ingredients for our own happiness. It is the loss of normalcy that leads to grief. During this lesson we had to write down and think about those normal pieces of our lives that bring us joy and happiness.
In the blink of an eye one of those things can be taken from you.
The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is affecting minds and hearts around the world. It is such a powerful story because it represents the change that can happen “in the blink of an eye.” My husband has taken this flight numerous times in his travels to Asia. On the morning after the disappearance he came to me, hugged me and told me he loved me, and although it seems morbid or sad, said that if anything ever happened to him he would want me to live a full happy life with our children. It is my biggest fear that I will one day have to experience a monumental circumstance in my life such as this one. It is my prayer that I live out my days, see my children get married, get to an old age with my husband and hold my grandchildren. I pray for normal.
And I started thinking….life could change for anyone in the blink of an eye.
No one brings this incredible lesson home to my heart more than Ken Diviney and his family. They are a constant reminder that we should be grateful for all of the normalcy that we have on a daily basis. They experienced change in the blink of an eye. Their change, their moment devastated four lives and the lives of people close to them. Their change, their “in the blink of an eye,” lead to years of ongoing sadness and grief with no sign of stopping or slowing.
Ryan Diviney lives in our town. He went to our schools, attended our college, knew our friends. His mother had parent-teacher conferences with our teachers. Ken cheered Ryan on at sporting events that we attended or attend today. They barbecued with friends, laughed over a beer or two, spoke with pride about their children and life was normal. Ken and Sue rejoiced in the life they built together, the pride they felt in their children and life was good, lIfe was happy.
And then, in the blink of an eye normalcy was taken away. On November 7, 2009 Ryan Diviney was assaulted and has been in a permanent vegetative state ever since. Ken, Sue, Ryan and Kari lost normalcy. They lost normal and they lost happiness.
We lost his twinkling smile and ability to light up any room. His passion… gone. His light, gone. Not only my family but the world lost a great guy that night. (http://ryansrally.org/2013/08/26/kari-reflects-i-lost-my-big-brother-that-night/)
The Divineys have been supported by their community but their burden is truly theirs to bear. No matter what support, what friendship and what love they receive, they go to sleep alone with the loss of normalcy and wake up longing and missing their son and their normal. I have learned a lot from this family about the resilience of the human spirit, about love, about strength and about life. Although they may not know this, they have taught many of us a lot about ourselves and for me, an understanding that I truly need to be grateful for my normal.
When someone loses their normal there is nothing they need more than love from those around them. They need hearts, they need minds, they need support. I have learned one thing they do not need. They do not need nor do they want us to put some kind of life lesson or meaning on their loss. We cannot solve their problems nor can we carry their burden. We can however pray for them, we can provide moments of happiness and love and we can ask them what they need. We can also “see” them for who they really are, not allowing their tragedy to define them in our eyes, but to see that they are “us,” they have lost their normal and are trying to find their way through it.
What is your normal? Embrace your normal, enjoy those moments, the simple pleasures, whether that is the hug of a child or the flowers in your garden. Wake up every single day and realize that you have everything you need to be happy and truly LIVE. Be grateful because as others can tell you, if life changes in the blink of an eye, it will be too late.
Please pray for the passengers or Flight 370, for the Divineys and those who have lost their normal.