03 July 2012

Normal is all about how you define it

This morning during coffee time after chapel, a visitor asked me what a regular day for me looked like. My answer: "I don't know - kind of normal, I guess."

     Well, this is normal:
Breakfast was in bed (Matthijs happens to be on vacation in Poland with this father, so eating in bed with my pyjamas has become pretty normal this week). After working a bit, I changed the liturgical colours in the chapel - from green to red - since today we honoured the apostle Thomas. I also dug through the icons looking for one of Thomas (and despite having no idea what I was looking for, I did find one - see for yourself what a Thomas icon might look like). Then coffee and tea and random conversations.

After that, I went home to work on some Jeremiah stuff and correspondence. I also spent some time reading a book related to prostitution and trafficking. I also did some cooking - most notably, leek soup that can be stored in the freezer for a rainy day. Eventually I went to the VU University to work there (and I found out that a friend back in Canada had had her baby!)

At 6, I picked up bread for the community: 2 garbage bags full of pretty hefty bread. One garbage bag (and a few loaves) could be stuffed into the duffel bag I had with me - and the rest fit into a large plastic reusable bag that could hang on the handle bars. The duffel bag I put over my shoulders, and if I arranged myself properly, it would sit on the bike carrier on the back of the bike. As long as I stayed sitting up right and didn't turn, it wouldn't fall off. Thankfully no crazy tourist jumped out in front of me, and I had no problem getting home without falling over.

Later in the evening, I volunteerd with the Women's pastoral care team of the Salvation Army. We bring coffee and tea to the women working in prostitution in the neighbourhood and offer a listening ear and conversation to the women. The visits brought a couple of good talks, much appreciation expressed for what we do, and some laughs to make the evening a bit more pleasant. And afterwards, there was time for a short talk with others in the team to help us with the weightiness of what we do - not so much because the talks are difficult but more on account of the brokenness and pain that is often connected with prostitution.

Walking home - through the Red Light District and the all the tourists, of course - I carried 2 packs of rice noodles in one hand and melting chocolate mousse cake (on a tissue) in the other. And I thought to myself - okay, so how did THIS become normal? Perhaps it wasn't normal so much as it simply wasn't strange for me - little of what happened today occurred for the first time. It just goes to show that normal has a lot to do with how you define it.

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