An Earthquake of Normal Proportions


Seismic shifts can sneak up on you.

We can’t predict earthquakes.

Scientists try, but when the earth decides to shift beneath us, there’s no warning.

It just happens.

Back in 2011, a few months after I left the Army, a rare earthquake struck the east coast. I was sitting in Maureen’s basement with Duffy, lazily scratching his belly as he stared at the tv with his one, cloudy doggy eye, when the whole house started to shake.

The dog flew off the couch, his eye wide open, barking at me to follow him outside, which, of course, I did.

That’s when I realized that it wasn’t just the house that was shaking. The whole world was shaking.

I’d only ever been in one other earthquake – back in Ohio, when I was in Elementary school. I remember being almost asleep in my bed, when the books on the shelf above my headboard started to fall on me. It was over very quickly.

Almost as soon as I realized what was happening, it was over.

It had happened.

Sometimes, life can be like that. It sneaks up on you.

One day, you’re sitting in your car at a stoplight, and you’re hot, so you reach over to turn up the AC dial.

Or you’re waiting in line to check out at Target, and say hello to the three people you know who are waiting in the other lane, then pull out your REDcard, pay for your stuff without batting an eye, and leave, waving to your favorite cashier.

Or you’re lying on a blanket in a park, being eaten alive by mosquitos, laughing with your date about how much better the spot looked from the water when you floated by it a few weeks prior on a tubing trip.

And all of a sudden, the tears well in your eyes,  roll across the bridge of your nose, and down your cheek…because you have a sudden realization of what this is, and the shift is no less than seismic.


This is what normal is.

What it looks like is the everyday. The mundane.

What it feels like…

An earthquake. Not strong enough to be destructive, but strong enough to know that there’s been a DEFINITE shift in the paradigm.

Normal is one amazing earthquake.



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