As the days unfold, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to envision normalcy returning at some point. Listening to the headlines around us makes it sound like we might never return to life as it once was. Like you, I have no idea what the future holds. We may find in a few months things look about like they did back in 2019 or we may be living in a new time within our history where things are radically different. What I do know is this: at some point we will all reach that new normal.
In all situations, even the most up and down ones, we develop a new normal. Now, sometimes when we think of normal we think of that being good. That’s not always the case. Sometimes our new normal is simply how we have adjusted to live with the loss, pain, or hurt we have in our lives. I share that because I understand that whatever the new normal is, it may not bring about a lot of positivity for you. It may be a worse situation than the one before. But good or bad, we are going to develop a new normal.
I do think that regardless of what this new normal looks like, there are some things that ought to be on our minds; things that we don’t want to forget as we adjust to this new normal. The problem with normalcy is that it often leads us to forget the importance of things. I don’t want to do that and I know you don’t either. Here are a few things I want to keep on my mind.
I hope we will recognize how much we need human connection. Hopefully this time has shown us we need to kill the mentality that says I don’t need people. Now, I’m an introvert, so don’t think this is coming from someone who is the life of the party. I like being around people but I also really like being at home with my family. Working the way I do, I spend a lot of time in an office studying and preparing and many of my days involve mostly me and my family. Yet, during this time I’ve found that I really, really need people. I miss being around people and no amount of phone calls, texts, or even video chats can change that. We need to remember the importance of physical, human interaction.
I hope that once we can be together, we don’t quit connecting in the many ways we have been. Nothing can replace physical interaction but I don’t know that we should go so far as to eliminate the other things we are having to do right now. There are people right now receiving more interaction than they normally do because people are mindful of the struggle of loneliness. We shouldn’t move away from trying to help with that. The truth is, physical interaction is hard to accomplish. It’s time consuming and sometimes difficult. Sometimes we don’t have the time to connect with someone face to face but we’ve all experienced in the last several weeks just how nice it is to know someone care enough to call or text. Let’s not let that end. People are going to be lonely and feel separate after this time is over. Our responsibility to them doesn’t change when the pandemic ends.
I hope our new normal places renewed value on the assembly of God’s people. The cliché about coming together as the church is that it is unnecessary; that you can be a Christian without the church. If this time is teaching us anything it’s that we need to be around fellow Christians. Not just existing in the same world they do but actually living life with them. Though the church isn’t the assembly alone, we need to be around one another. Hebrews 10:24-25 makes that clear to us. There is something a word or kind act can do that nothing can replace. Additionally, we need to worship God, not just at the same time of the day, but in the same location with other believers because it’s a tremendous reminder of the family that we are a part of in Jesus.
I hope we realize that we need to be together more than just in the assembly. As things started to unfold at the beginning of this pandemic I had the sobering realization that in many ways, outside of an hour or two per week, most Christians wouldn’t have their faith supremely disrupted. I realized that for the most part, as Christians we can easily spend very little time together and be just fine with it. I hope when things get to this new normal that we will realize that more is needed than just worshipping together on Sunday or even meeting on Wednesday. We need to be spending time together and growing together. Acts 2 paints a beautiful picture of a family of believers truly living for Christ together. This type of difficult situation shouldn’t just make us miss seeing each other. It should make us miss growing together. This time should be hard because what is so valuable in our faith, physical connection with God’s people, isn’t happening.
There are other things you might think of but these were some that came to my mind. I want things to go back to normal but I don’t want everything to be what it was before. Maybe you can relate. What have you learned? What do you want to keep or remember when we get to a new normal?