With the Covid nightmare end in sight (no, we are not out of the woods, but, yes, the end is coming) the Big Question people are asking is: When can we get “back to normal?” By that phrase, they mean: When can we stop wearing masks? When can we hug our grandchildren? When can we go to a ball game? Sit in a crowd? Not be socially distant? Be normal
This may surprise you: I hope we don’t go back to normal. I’m not talking about masks or crowds. I’m talking life
For many people, “normal” wasn’t good in 2019. Pandemic shutdowns and the quarantines of 2020 simply exposed the ugly truth that “normal” wasn’t working. Talk to any social worker, school psychologist, pastor or just about anyone else, and they will tell you that 2020 has been mentally and spiritually taxing on everyone. More than likely, you know someone who committed suicide in the last year. Read that last sentence again. That is NOT OK. Some of those individuals, concluded that the pressures of this world were too much, may have been pushed over the edge by the events of 2020. But they probably didn’t get to their mental state solely based on the events of the last year. More than likely, in 2019 and long before, they were walking toward this lonely destination (most suicides happen when the people are alone). “Normal” wasn’t working for them and 2020 exposed it.
It’s not just the tragedies of suicide and a lack of mental health awareness and care that have exposed the fallacies of the old normal. The angst that led to the capitol building insurrection; the racism that George Floyd’s death sadly once again revealed; the societal trajectory toward godlessness; and the reality that social media has made us both more informed and more isolated than at any time in history– all show the old “normal” was not working.
As more people get vaccinated and the pandemic restrictions loosen, let’s determine to not go back to the way things were.Instead, let’s do all we can to notice God’s children who are lonely in the crowd. Let’s hear the ones who have been shut down, shut out, and shut up by the old normal. Let’s care for those whom society has missed. Let’s keep pointing all to the One who said, “See, I am doing thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19). Let’s not go back to the old normal, let’s work for a new, better, hope-filled normal.
P.S. If you know someone struggling with life today, don’t wait for a vaccine. Call, text or (heaven forbid) visit. Sit with them. Listen to them. Cry with them. Point them to Jesus.