The New Normal

The east side of Austin, Texas, 16 years ago wasn’t a place you might want to go walking with a stranger, even in broad day light. Ask me to go there, and I might have said no.

It was election season and a presidential campaign was in full force. Ask me to go door to door to talk about candidates and principles I believe in, and I’m in! That year I met 30 others in a stranger’s back yard, we gathered bumper stickers and we walked block by block, canvasing the neighborhoods.

Courage walked down the path to a stranger’s home and knocked on the door.

Not knowing their politics or what to expect I spoke to the unknown.

The other day I walked down my street to the homes of strangers in my own neighborhood to deliver invitations to a Halloween party I’m having. I had reservations as I walked into the dark.

I flashed back to the block walking days. What happened? Something was different.

Suddenly I was walking a path seven miles outside my comfort zone.

My mind swirled to try and reconcile the differences.

Strangers? No neighbors. In my home? No in the front yard, after all it’s a front yard party. What can they do to me? No we’re eating cupcakes and candy. For heaven’s sake I told myself, it’s a Halloween party to meet the neighbors. What is going on?

The new normal had taken up residence in my mind and in my heart.

A new normal with societal changes that prompt me to realize that fear is not real. The fear that can hold us prisoner is a product of the thoughts we create. Danger is real but fear is a choice.

The deterioration of our society is real. The not ‘us’, but the ‘me’ world that we live in haunts me. Gratuitousness, entitlement, irresponsibility, and narcissistic behavior is our new normal.

To this I simply say, I refuse to be held captive by this new reality. I won’t be stifled by the illusion of danger and the chaos that fills my mind. Things have changed, in our towns, in our schools, on our campuses, in movie theaters, malls and in our sacred places of worship.

The invitations are out. The Halloween party is on, set in the front yard with dozens of my closest neighbors.   Day 28 #Write31days

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