A commonly held belief these days is that post-pandemic we will likely not get back to normal. Things will have been so fundamentally altered that relationships, careers, lifestyles, hopes and dreams will be, at least, modified. I wrote about this topic a number of months ago (which feels more like years ago). This season is no blip on our radars – it has been a game changer.
Speaking for myself, I am in a huge wait-and-see moment of my life. The future continues to be shrouded with mist. There are days I wring my hands and worry, and others in which I joyfully anticipate what’s next. I imagine you do too.
Is there anything we can do in the meantime? Are there some productive measures that will help lay the foundation for our new lives ahead? Sure there are. I see three crucial choices right now, today, that we each could make that will set us up for the new normal.
First, be patient with yourself as the new normal is being born. A good friend of mine started a recent email to me with that very thought. He said “I hope you are being patient with yourself as you process this new season of life”. It was good to hear because I have not been settled in this “land between”. More like agitated and wistful. My journal reads as a litany of worrying. But since his exhortation I have been trying to settle down and wait. It’s funny, but as I have, I actually sense the fog lifting a bit. With a quieted spirit I find myself better able to make the next three choices.
Like, love the one in front of you while you wait for the new normal. And by “the one in front of you” I mean the spouse, the friend, the child, the grandchild the essential worker, the lonely neighbor…all those people who are just as stressed as you. I was struck, just this morning, by Richard Rohr’s powerful reflections on the impact of love.
“Love is constantly creating future possibilities for the good of all concerned – even, and especially, when things go wrong. Love allows and accommodates everything in human experience, both the good and the bad, and nothing else can really do this. Nothing. Love flows unstoppably downward, around every obstacle – like water.” Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ
I am moved by the idea that, as we love, we “create future possibilities for the good of all.” Love creates opportunities for the new normal to emerge safely.
Finally, during this time of suspense, we can make a decision now that our new normal lives will be more purpose-focused than ever. We have before us the chance to do a reset. To turn a leaf. To respond to a passion. To pursue the calling on our life. Or as Donald Miller urges us, “to speak a better story”…
“We live in a world where bad stories are told, stories that teach us life doesn’t mean anything and that humanity has no great purpose. It’s a good calling, then, to speak a better story. How brightly a better story shines. How easily the world looks to it in wonder. How grateful we are to hear these stories, and how happy it makes us to repeat them.”
Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I learned while editing my life
As our previous story comes to a close, be patient, love well and anticipate your new story that lies just ahead.