There is so much talk these days about “getting back to normal” after the COVID-19 global crisis is “over.” But will it ever really be “over”? Only time will tell.
But, really, there is one thing for certain: We will not be getting back to “normal.”
All around the world, people in every nation will have to adopt a “new normal” that goes well beyond adopting new health and hygiene practices that will keep them from falling sick. We have been knitted together as a global community like never before. The new normal will require us to take the valuable lessons that we’ve learned during quarantine and “shelter-in-place” forward into the future. The new normal can be something that we, as a human race, can set in place with pride for the next generation. It begins with us.
The new normal: It looks like this.
Most of us have learned during the COVID-19 crisis to reorganize our lives in such a way that it makes sense to us when we can’t leave our homes and can’t travel. When we have to cook all our meals at home, work from home, and have to homeschool our children. Everything is completely different, and it’s taken some time to get used to. But we’ve done it. Now moving forward? We get to choose what life will look like. We can add back in only the things that are the most meaningful. And can use the virus’s shakeup to reposition ourselves into a life that has margin and aligns itself with our values and convictions. We have the choice to let life control us. We can move forward with confidence, knowing we are doing what matters most, but most of all, we can focus our time on BEING, rather than just DOING. It’s up to us.
Commitment to Intentionality in Relationships
The more time that passes, people all around the nation who previously thought they were introverts are realizing they need to interact with people to be recharged. They need a conversation, to look someone in the eye, get a hug, or at least give a handshake In the absence of those things, people everywhere are being outrageously creative in the ways they are connecting with others. Whether it’s over video calls or text message, or whether it’s by hanging out 6 feet apart in a driveway, people are being more intentional than ever in creating an opportunity for relationship. The new normal must take that forward. We cannot lose this precious gift we have been given. Our relationships are important. More important than our work, our sports, or our careers. Our new normal must include a global commitment to building bonds that will last.
As we sit inside our homes during shelter-in-place orders, we are experiencing a unique reality that is changing the way that we look at our abundance. We are decluttering our homes and making meals from scratch. All while we are trying to avoid Starbucks and fast-food drive-thrus. We are, unintentional though it may be, experiencing a sort of minimalism. Many of us are subsisting on the least amount of things needed to survive. We are learning to be content with what we have and not pursuing the Great American Dream of having more than everyone all around us. Our grass is green, and we are not looking at our neighbor’s lawn. For some, this causes anxiety. For others, however, this produces peace. A peace that can be carried into the new normal. A peace that can permeate life into the future, that helps us create calm in the midst of any chaos, and that helps us to spend our money on things that matter, rather on things that will not last. A long-lasting peace that helps us set priorities that define our lives for the better.
Realizing what is important
Wedding ceremonies with hundreds of guests have been canceled. But the marriage is still on. Graduation ceremonies are called off. But young people are still going to college. Church services have been moved online. But worship and hearing from the Word of God are still happening with enthusiasm. Perhaps now, more than ever before in history, people around the world are realizing what is important. They are seeing that the activities that we once held so close to the heart are mere symbols of greater achievements in life that can never be taken away. Relationships come first. Knowledge and learning are rising to the top. Creativity is taking first place. Quality time together is prized above all.
The COVID-19 virus has changed the world forever, but it has not changed the important things that are sewn deep within our hearts. Those are the things that will last forever and can never be taken away.
We will not “go back to normal.” When the COVID-19 global pandemic is over, there will be a new normal. And the vision for that new normal and how it all plays out is up to us. We have the power to make it all that we want it to be. We also have the power to allow life to consume us once again. The authority is ours to choose.
Let’s make the right choice.