Five minute Friday: Ordinary

When I think of Ordinary, some other words come to mind including ‘Normal, Mundane, Boring’. My life is none of those things, and neither am I. Ordinary, or Normal, means ‘able-bodied, capable, independent, an ‘ordinary’ body where almost everything works as it is supposed to. My body is not ordinary, far from it. It is disabled, or differently abled, and I depend on support from others to do basic daily tasks such as washing, dressing and making meals.

Neither is my life ordinary. I am young, and yet, like a retired person, I can no-longer make my own living. I depend on the taxes of others to give me an income so I can have some sort of life. The people I see on a daily basis are not work colleagues, they are carers, nurses, doctors, wheelchair engineers, physio-terrorists ….

Yet in other ways I am ordinary.  I am a young woman with hopes, dreams, fears, struggles and joys. I have a need to feel useful, to contribute so society in whatever way I can and so give my life meaning and purpose. Not only that, but I was created with a meaning and a purpose in mind. Before I was born, every one of my days was written in God’s book. (Psalm 139:4) This week I have done that in a tangible way by blogging, tweeting and emailing, more than I sometimes manage. Ordinarily, one day merges into the other in the sameness of my life. I’d encourage you to read my previous blog post and consider signing the petition I highlight, if you are eligible, to stand up for those who cannot – ordinary people sticking up for those society considers extra-ordinary or different, and yet who are human being too with hopes, dreams and fears. Fears that even the basic lives we have are under threat. This is why we all need to stand together. In standing together, we can do something extra ordinary!

Normal? No Thanks!

I wrote the following yesterday (Monday). I just got sick and didn’t post it, so here it is now…

Oh goodness. Yesterday’s daily prompt question is a rather pertinent one in a world where ‘abnormal’ is penalised, and ‘normal’ is praised. To be different in some way means you are not normal.

As a disabled person unable to work and reliant on medication, mobility aids, wheelchairs, and physical help from others on a day-to-day basis I am all too aware, I and my life, are far from normal. It is not ‘normal’ for someone as young as me to be unable to work. Medically, my body has never been normal. From the day I was born until the day I die, my body falls far short of ‘healthy’, and short of physical ability in day-to-day life. I am grateful I am healthier than I could be… though not as healthy as society thinks I should be. In these senses, I am not normal.

Who decides what is ‘normal’ though? This Government are penalising anyone who is sick, disabled, old, those looking for work or unable to work, poor, needy, or homeless. by labelling everyone in these categories as scroungers, and therefore somehow not trying hard enough to find work, or work that pays well enough to support a reasonable standard of living. It is ‘normal’ to be able to provide for your family, or pay your own way, in my case. It is normal to achieve certain grades in Education to go into education or training. Anyone who fails to do this is called a ‘NEET’ (Not in Education, Employment, or Training).  Anyone with requirements different to other children or teenagers has ‘special’ or ‘additional’ needs, and generally, their parents have to fight for every bit of help their child gets. If you would like to read more on this, I can recommend Jane Raca’s book, Standing up for James in which she writes of the struggle to find and finance adequate education provision for her son, and the failures of social services, especially if your family is going through similar struggles. (You can read my review of her book here). I did hear the other day that Katie Price’s request to begin a ‘free’ school with other parents of children with special needs had been rejected. Begun because there is not enough provision for children with complex needs, a claim also made by Jane Raca, though I cannot quote her directly unless I find my kindle before I publish this post!!

Personality wise, I have always been just the right side of daft. Life is more fun if you can laugh at yourself, and if you can handle tough situations with a degree of humour, it all helps, in my opinion. In this sense, ‘normal’ is boring. I would love to be more sensible and more organised though. In some ways I still feel as though I live and think as I did when I was a student, and in other ways I have grown up. I think that is a lot to do with not being able to work. In that sense, I am not ‘normal’, and here, I would wish to be. Spiritually, I tend to agree with the late, great, Mike Yaconelli. ‘Messy’ is best, and Jesus is right with us in the midst of it. I read a great post the other day to do with authenticity in church, and faith. I think I may have already linked to it in another post, but it is worth another mention. I definitely think Mike would have been the same in whatever sphere of life he was in at the time. People who can do that and get away with it are oftentimes, (though not always) my favourite kind of people because there is no ‘normal’, around them, and you never know what will happen next. Life is an adventure. I happen to agree. So did Jesus, who didn’t do ‘normal’ either. He hung out with the very people society shunned, when there was nothing to gain from doing so. Me? I prefer to aim to be like Jesus; life is more fun that way! “I have come that they may have life,and have it to the full” (John 10: 10)