What? People are talking about the “New Normal” as if we have reached a level of stasis in this pandemic situation. This supports a point I made early on in this pandemic: People will get tired and will quit making the effort pandemic panic requires – especially in the face of dubious cost vs. benefit facts.
One way to quit is to call this situation The New Normal. Lower your expectations; stop grieving over the losses, and get on with living despite the uncertainty of, well, everything!
We are not close to a New Normal, and I am not willing to capitulate to one. I will find routines and habits that sustain me during this world-wide upheaval, but I will not call it Normal.
Not much of what is happening now is sustainable. Adjustments are still being made to supply us with what is needed for life and health, and more will be as our states begin to let go of the powers they have seized. Please God, they relent and release! And soon…
People like to predict that there will nevermore be hand-shaking or hugs. There will be no church services, or large gatherings of any kind. We will all be wearing masks whenever we are in public.
I think it is far too soon to dump practices that have been part of human contact from time immemorial. We are made to be together, to have community, to express our respect, affection, camaraderie through touch and presence. That is normal – and we will find a way to return to those things that strengthen and sustain us. We don’t need to give up and accept a New Normal that is devoid of them. We will innovate and likely return to many former practices because every generation has had challenges to “normal” life.
Now is the time for us to work hard to incorporate our timeless and precious values into what will become a new normal. We need to discern the good and strive to keep them; and evaluate the new with clarity before accepting them. This could be a great opportunity for us to define, refine and communicate the beliefs behind our actions. And to know them for ourselves…
It’s going to take patience and courage. It won’t be without conflict, but I pray that when we are in a New Normal we will be able to say the important things are still with us -- and are even better than before.