The Challenges We Face
Hi friend. How are you? No I mean, How are you..really?
How are you handling our new normal? How do you feel when you have to decide who will go into the grocery store today and who will stay in the car with the children. What do you think in your mind as you breathe in your own recycled air beneath your face mask? Aren’t the plastic barriers between us and the tape lines on the floor depicting where we can stand…strange?
Last week I saw a friend down the aisle from me in the store. At first, we exchanged glances with only our eyes wondering…”is that you?” We came closer but kept a less than safe distance as I nearly pulled my mask away to have a chat with her. I stopped myself. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to feel a friends warm embrace reminding me that we’re going to get through this, that we are all frustrated and scared and uncertain of what this all actually means, but no. We couldn’t. We shouldn’t. So we didn’t. And I regretted it.
We wonder when normal will return. We wonder what normal will look like.We hold on to the promises of what we know to be true in the chaos of what is unknown.
Two months have come and gone since we were met with the news of sheltering-in-place. Two-months of crisis-schooling at home. Two months of no play dates, no church service, no family dinners or birthday celebrations. Easter was celebrated via tv screens and zoom calls. Religion has sought revival within the four walls of our homes. Press conferences are something we schedule to watch weekly and hold our healthy lungs wondering when we might be able to live and breathe freely again.
Things Have Changed
So how are you my friend? How is your heart handling the stress of a pandemic? What can you do to shake up your mundane routine inside the same rooms day-after-day? The truth is, I’m not sure normal will ever return to us again. Even when we return to work, when the parks and playgrounds re-open and we can hug our families again, we might always be reminded of the fear of lockdown. We will tell our grandchildren of what it was like to live during a time when we were afraid to go outside for fear of what we could not see. The history books will write of the governing and the statistics and the conspiracies that we are living within. We might hope and pray for a flattened curve and this virus to disappear. But until those days are upon us, let us, at the very least, strive to find gratitude in the places where we are found.
And so, I will challenge myself with these ideas. I will say them out loud. I will write them on paper. I will sing with joy and encourage my family to participate. Let me ask you to consider doing the same:
Instead of being ungrateful for the house that I (an extrovert) am stuck within… I will choose thankfulness for warmth for food and safety in the comfort of my own home. For a place to call our own with more than we could really ever need.
Instead of frustration in the check-out lines and one-way paths in the grocery store, I will be thankful for my access and provision for the foods that I both want and need. I will pray for an opportunity to see a friendly face behind a cloth -if only for a quick conversation (face mask-to-face mask.)
Instead of wondering when reality will reopen, I will rest in the unwavering Hope that I know supersedes any virus or pandemic on this side of life. And know that this is only for a season.
My neighbors, my friends, my family how I long for the day when we are in celebration of each other and our lives to return to some semblance of normalcy. Until then, I will be thankful for each of you. I will remember you in my thoughts, and hope for the day when we are free from fear and doubts. Until the day when we are together again. Godspeed.
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