Some of the best writing, the writing that is most heartfelt and true, finds it source in life’s deepest valleys. This is exactly the case with Michael Kelley’s Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal.
Wednesdays were normal days for the Kelley family until they received the shocking news that their son Joshua, just two years old, had been diagnosed with leukemia. The normal life of this normal family was suddenly turned all around and upside down as their little boy battled for his life. The happy ending is that he won that battle and today is a healthy and growing boy. The journey, the subject of this book, is all the Wednesdays and other days between the diagnosis and the declaration that he is cancer-free at last.
There are books that are good at asking questions and books that are good at answering them but not so many that bring strength to both questions and answers. The joy of Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal is that it does both well, rather a rare combination. While this book has several notable strengths, allow me to point to just a couple of them.
The first has to do with the author’s authenticity. Kelley asks the kinds of questions that so many parents may grapple with as they struggle through the reality of pain and disease and the very real possibility that their child may not live to celebrate his next birthday. This is not an abstract or academic discussion of suffering, but one that is authentic in every detail. Kelley invites the reader into his family’s journey in both its highs and lows. Where he did well, he describes success, and where he did poorly, he describes failure. He humbly allows the reader to see both and through it all labors to point beyond himself.
The second strength has to do with the answers to those questions. The answers Kelley provides are satisfying and helpful because they are consistently rooted in Scripture. He affirms what is true and doesn’t let himself drift into easy answers or rebellion or outright defiance of God. Instead he reminds himself–and reminds the reader–that what God says is true, that even in the darkest valley God is still God and he is still good. He does not describe suffering divorced from theology but suffering deeply rooted within it. This allows the answers to be helpful, so deep and real. It allows this to be the kind of book you will want to read in your own dark valleys or give to those who are in their own.