A Whole New Kind of Normal
It is another typical quarantine Tuesday. Sleeping in until 8 o'clock and waking to the sweet sound of my son preparing the coffee maker to brew us each a fresh cup. The kids have slowly rolled out of bed, fixed themselves breakfast and are quietly working on their homework as we all gather around the dining table in our cozy pajamas. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and all seems to be right in our little world. I find it hard to believe it has been seven weeks since our life took on this whole new kind of “normal.” Before Corona, our typical Tuesday looked so much different. Waking up early to prepare breakfast and lunches for the kiddos to send them off for a full day of school. Making the 25 minute drive to school then back home to clean and do laundry. Then off to run errands to pick up materials for school projects and knee pads for volleyball practice. Back to the school to pick up the kids and bring them home for the evening. Then the rush really begins…snack, followed by homework, followed by dinner, wrestling practice, volleyball, showers and bed. Whew! Nine hours of rest then we do it all again. Wow, indeed so much has changed!
The first couple weeks of quarantine, I found myself fighting to be content with just staying at home…trying to get use to this slower and more simple way of life. The adjustment was different for all of us. We all felt similar realities at times, feeling like we were losing friends, losing independence, losing connection, losing freedom. But through everything we felt we were losing, what we would actually gain during this quarantine time would truly change us all for the better. So here I sit on the seventh Tuesday of quarantine and realize that change is coming once again. Stores are beginning to open up, restaurants are preparing to serve food and people are slowly returning to work. And once again I find myself fighting to just stay home...but this time grasping tight onto this simple and sacred way of life we have created in our home over the last two months. This time of quarantine has taught me so very many good lessons (like how to teach your kids to make you fresh coffee every morning). Not all of the lessons were easy, but all of them have been meaningful. I hear many people say, "Finally, things are going back to normal and now we all can just all get on with life again." And while I am truly thankful to have business owners once again open their doors and believing we will see the economy once again will begin to thrive, I find myself in a personal struggle of returning to that once “normal" rhythm of life.
Life can get busy, I mean crazy busy. Feeling almost like you are traveling non stop in the fast lane! For the past couple of years, that is where I lived, going 100 mph in all different directions…sports, school, church, lunches, meetings, volunteering, errands, projects, coffees, school events...you name it, we were doing it! While all these things were good, they kept us all on the go, moving from one thing to another at a rapid pace. Then came quarantine, and with it came change. Everything was tipped upside down and we were forced into finding a new rhythm to life. A rhythm that would bring us great peace, joy, laughter, love, family time, meaningful conversations, silly dances, homemade meals, craft projects, letter writing, church at home, a clean garage, baking, intentional and meaningful prayers, board games, kingdom conversation, card games, and togetherness. One thing I discovered through this time in quarantine is that truly happy people don’t need the best of everything, because they simply make the best of everything. That is what we did…together, as a unit, we discovered a beautiful and meaningful new normal while we were happily safe at home.
Now, as the world slowly reawakens I have found myself stuck somewhere between pre and post Corona realities, trying to find yet again another “normal”. To simply jump back in, without thought to the normal I had before, would not be wise. I have learned too much, seen too much, experienced too much and discovered too much for a change not to come. So what now? What do I say yes to? What parts of life are worth returning to? What parts are not? How do we transition back into the secular world, without losing our sacred space? As I spent time with the Lord the other day pondering these questions, I once again stumbled onto a verse that He had strategically placed in front of me to help give me clarity and guidance through this transition.
“So above all, (seek) constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from Him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly.” -Matthew 6:33
I love how Jesus is simple and straight to the point. What I was wanting was a complete and thorough plan of “How to Transition Out of Quarantine Well”, but what He gave me was one simple step. To seek Him...above everything else! I went straight to my dictionary and looked up the word seek (yes, I do this often)…it means to go in search or quest of, to try to find or discover by searching or questioning. And just like that, I realized…God is inviting me into a new journey, a new quest with Him. What does this mean? It means I don’t have to just blindly jump back into the once "normal", trying or pretending to make it work. Instead I have an opportunity to discover something new by applying the lessons I have learned and the clarity I have received during the seven weeks of quarantine. The part of this Scripture that struck me the most was that it says “seek hard after the things that proceed, follow from Him.” From Him...this my friends is the best news as it places Jesus in a position of leading. As a leader Jesus will guide, Jesus will select the path, Jesus will navigate the way, Jesus will strategically and intentionally plan each move, Jesus will set the pace and Jesus will keep the pace. Jesus is willing to lead me each and every step of the way, which means I don’t have to know the best way, plan out every step or try to figure this whole thing out. All I have to do is follow hard after my leader! Wherever Jesus leads, at whatever pace, in whatever direction...that is where I know I will find life, and life to the full! So as the days slowly unfold, may we each be mindful and intentional to remember the simple invitation that Jesus lays before us. An invitation to where He Himself will guide us, lead us, call us and draw us on quest with Him to discover a whole new kind of normal...in just the right time and at the perfect pace!
There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. -C.S. Lewis