Forever Changed

I was sitting in a coffee shop in Nashville, hearing the pleasant chatter of others and the clink of dishes in the background, smelling the rich aroma of coffee and cookies.  The last 10 minutes of one-on-one conversation had given me a far deeper respect for the man across from me than I could have imagined, and as the clock ticked away the minutes, I felt a desperate need to gain as much wisdom from him as I could before our time ran out. I leaned forward with my elbows on the table, looking at him with tears starting to glisten in my eyes as I asked quietly, “What happens when things go back to normal?”

He smiled at me with the understanding of age and experience. “Things will never go back to normal,” he answered simply. “I’m changed because I’ve met you.  You’re changed because of what you experienced and the people you met in Scotland.  There’s a new normal that incorporates all of those experiences and how they’ve shaped the way you look at life.”

In that moment, he had perfectly put into words everything that had been tearing me apart over the past couple of weeks.  I hadn’t been able to put the puzzle pieces together into a new, reshaped version of myself because the trip was so short and my thoughts so scattered.  This wasn’t like camp, where I was there long enough to see myself change and track my progress through journaling.  Instead, all I’ve been able to do is cry and feel lost.  But suddenly I could breathe again, realizing that things don’t have to go back to normal.  They can’t go back to normal.  I couldn’t forget even if I wanted to, so I may as well accept the fact that I’m changed and embrace the new normal.  I won’t see these people again for a very long time, but I don’t have to let it hurt, because their footprints will always be on my heart.  They’ve changed me; and most importantly, God has changed me.

There’s a line from the Casting Crowns song The Well that I always return to after an experience like this: “Now that you’re full of love beyond measure, your joy’s gonna flow like a stream in the desert.  Soon all the world will see living water is found in Me, because you’ve come to the Well.”

Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence that this conversation took place at The Well.  And maybe…maybe there’s no such thing as “normal” after all.  Life isn’t static.  Life is a journey full of ups and downs and experiences that change the course of our lives.  Maybe we just have to let go of control and change with it, letting every moment define us in a unique way.

Scotland collage

Published in: on April 2, 2013 at 7:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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