Throughout the first two weeks of this whole COVID-19 experience, it seemed bearable. In some ways, it felt like an adventure. How can we be creative? How can we think new thoughts?
My wife and I have said that we can tolerate most anything when we know that there is an end in sight. After two weeks of social distancing and tightening measures to keep people from spreading this virus further, the novelty and adventure seems to have worn off and it feel like it’s time to buckle down and figure out how to acclimate to this new normal.
When 9/11 took place, I lived in the suburbs of New York City in Connecticut. Our commuter communities were majorly impacted because of the number of people who worked in New York City every day. In those days immediately after everything happened, there was a spirit of togetherness that occurred. People seemed to have been changed by what had taken place. They seemed gentler, more compassionate, more thoughtful. But it didn’t last long.
Once the novelty and immediacy of those initial days wore off, we went back to the way things had been, the way we were (cue Barbra Streisand).
I keep asking myself, will the changes that we are experiencing during this time stick or will we just go back to the way we were? What is the staying power of our changes?
I guess a more important question would be, how are we changing?
By the time this has all passed, I honestly don’t know how any of us will be able to say that we haven’t been changed in some way, shape, or form. If we are present with those we find ourselves isolated with, it seems natural that we would be changed.
From my own vantage point, the perspective of a pastor, I can see that churches have been struggling through these changes. One of the most significant holidays on the church calendar, Easter, is less than two weeks away and will be celebrated far differently than most churches are used to celebrating it.
I’ve never been a big fan of change myself. It’s not that I’m averse to it, it’s just that there are certain things that I like the way that they are and I’d rather keep them that way. But I’ve learned that life rarely affords us the option of staying the same. Change or die seems to be crying out to us as life rolls on.
I’m trying to be more sensitive to what’s changing in me as these days stroll past. How am I different? How am I acting?
I’ve got to say, I’m not winning any awards for how I’ve responded up to this point, especially this week. I’ve fallen short, embracing survival over excellence. I hit the proverbial wall.
But picking myself up again, looking ahead, I’m going to do my best to reflect on what is and what could be. How will I let this time change me? How can I be a different when this is all behind us?