I’ve been reading Don Piper’s book “90 Minutes In Heaven”. It’s the biography of a man in his late 30’s who was crossing a narrow two-lane bridge when an 18-wheeler coming from the opposite direction crossed the line and hit him head on. At that instant, Don Piper’s “normal” forever changed.
Although he writes about his experience of dying and spending a short time in heaven, the majority of the book focuses on his life after he was miraculously brought back to life, and the agonizing years that followed. Here’s an excerpt from chapter 14 (page 138):
“In my twenties, when I was a disc jockey, we used to play oldies, and people who called in to request those songs often commented that music used to be better than it is now. The reality is that in the old days we played good and bad records, but the bad ones faded quickly from memory just like bad ones do now. No one ever asked us to play the music that bombed. The good songs make the former times seem great, as if all the music was outstanding. In reality, there was bad music thirty years ago or fifty years ago – in fact, a lot of bad music. The same is true with experiences. We tend to forget the negative and go back to recapture pleasant events. The reality is, we have selectively remembered – and just as selectively forgotten.
“Once that idea got through to me, I decided I couldn’t recapture the past. No matter how much I tried to idealize it, that part of my life was over and I would never be healthy or strong again. The only thing for me to do was to discover a new normal.”
I pondered this, and realized that this is what we all go through in life (although most of us don’t experience it quite as dramatically as Don). The old normal used to be popping out of bed in the morning feeling perfect and ready to jump into the day. The new normal is getting up stiff and achy, hobbling out to the kitchen, and spending an hour or so just limbering up the limbs. Things are definitely not what they used to be. All through life there are different stages, different “normal”s. We either accept the changes in life and move on, or we turn angry and bitter about everything that isn’t like the good old days. This book really brought that thought home.