“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,” states the Teacher in Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV). Certainly we are living in a season, right now. A global pandemic has gripped the world and changed the way we live. For good and for bad.
I consider myself fortunate to hear from many people of many diverse views and backgrounds. Some, during this season, yearn for a return to normal. Some declare we are in a new-normal. Many ask what has changed about our lives and what will remain forever-after changed and how will we adapt?
I know people who absolutely believe with all of their hearts that the novel-Coronavirus of 2019 (COVID-19) is an elaborate hoax. I also know people who view this season, with an equal amount of passion, as very real and the most horrifying experience of this era. There is certainly a spectrum of opinions about this.
My point is not to argue any opinion over the other, for it is not up to us to pass judgement. I would like to offer a humble perspective. A perspective past politics and pandering, paranoia and paralysis. A perspective on this season.
This is a season of worry, of uncertainty, and of confusion, but we must take solace that it is not a season of hopelessness. Yes, many of us are trying to pay the bills. Keep the lights on. Teach our children. Put gas in the car. Yes, we are frustrated because the truth of our daily lives has changed. And, yes, these are good things.
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word ‘normal’ as: conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected. I believe this season has shown us there was a comfort in normalcy. My question is, simply, why are we satisfied with normal? In Economics, we use a latin phrase ceteris paribus, meaning ‘all other things being equal,’ to describe a method of mathematical or scientific analysis wherein a specific variable is defined and studied. All other variables might be considered normal or standard; usual, typical, or expected.
I believe a legitimate question in this season is, “All things considered equal, were we happy with normal?” Pause there, don’t judge.
How many of us turned off the news and opened up the dusty board games hiding in the closet? How many of us have actually enjoyed being around our families in the last few months? How many puzzles have you completed? Is your to-do list shorter? Did you reach out to someone for the first time in a long time? Have you helped a neighbor, or been helped by one? Who of us figured out how to do something new? Who read a book, or several? Who is making healthier choices? Who among us learned we may not be as important to our lives (our work, our bosses, our clubs) as we thought we were? Of those, who found it a blessing?
AND, have you spoken more to God recently than you did when things were “normal?”
You may take the answers to these questions as a roll-call, check-list or a calling of things yet to do. But we can still embrace what makes us good and just as children of God.
Yes, this is a scary season. No matter your opinion or position. But we mere mortal humans shall struggle on. We shall trust His plan. For, I believe through it all we have learned in large ways and small ways how to enjoy the next season more than the last. We are learning that what is truly important are things we forgot were supposed to be integral to ‘normal’.
Let us encourage one another.
Let us ask the Lord what ‘normal’ should look like.
Let us follow His plan!