This is not normal

In this world of Covid-19, I hate the phrase ‘new normal’. We are in a world where toilet paper and hand sanitizer are like gold, where we wear masks everywhere, and the term essential worker exists. None of this is normal.

I am not a huge touchy feely person by nature. It’s just not a big part of who I am. If I’m gonna see you again tomorrow, I’m unlikely to hug you today. I need a bit of personal space. But even for me, it is weird how much we all are avoiding each other suddenly. We stand back, we don’t shake hands, we don’t embrace or even stand near another person for fear of our lives and the lives of our families. And I’m grieving it. I’m grieving the loss of interaction with others.

I’m grieving the loss of corporate worship, dinners with friends, cheering at my kids games and meets, the loss of my family summer vacation and water park trips, and even meeting a stranger with a handshake. I’m grieving for my kids, for their loss of the school year, their friends, the loss of best friend sleepovers, my daughters loss of seeing her long time boyfriend, my kids loss of meets, games, and spring shows. I’m grieving the loss of birthday parties. I’m grieving at work to not wrap my arms around a grieving parent without fear or trepidation. I’m grieving trying to be a mom, chaplain, and teacher. I’m grieving not seeing my sisters, nieces, and nephews. I’m grieving.

I hear the governor of California talking about kids maybe not going back to school in the Fall, and I am completely overwhelmed. Have I mentioned that my kids are driving me, climb up the walls, mental institution levels of CRAZY! It freaks me out, that life may still continue like this for some time. Will events return before there is a vaccine? And even if they do, are we all gonna wear masks, sit 6 feet apart, and talk about how much we wish we could find toilet paper? In groups of 50 or less? Is this the next year of our lives?

People are dying. Tons and tons and tons of people are dying. People are dying alone in rooms. Family is burying their loved ones without funerals, with only a small amount of immediate family allowed at a graveside. I’ve witnessed this realization setting in with someone. It is heartbreaking. It’s not normal.

I fear easing up social distancing over the summer and then the virus hitting with a vengeance in the Fall. I imagine how many more people will get infected before a vaccine is ready, and what that will really mean for all of our lives moving forward…because things aren’t going back to normal. Things aren’t going to be normal again for a long time, maybe ever, because we will all be forever changed a little bit by this. I wonder what normal is now.

I do know this. God is still sovereign. This will end. There will be a vaccine eventually, and life will go back to some semblance of normal. Some kind of new normal at the least. We will all go on with our lives, and one day we’ll look back at this crazy year, a crazy terrible, heartbreaking year that changed history. A year where weddings were canceled, where mothers didn’t get to have funerals for their babies, a year where people didn’t get to be with their loved ones as they died. A terrible, heartbreaking, stress filled, overwhelming year where we all missed interaction with our loved ones so much that it was painful. But, no one will look back and think it was normal.

Perhaps though, we will look back and be stronger. Perhaps our families will be stronger. Perhaps we’ll make relationships a bit more important and let go of grudges and focus on the gift of one another. Perhaps we’ll spend more time having family game nights and movie nights, and less business travel and late nights at work. Perhaps we won’t dare miss a game or meet, and savor the blessing of them when they come. Perhaps one day there will be a new normal, and it won’t be such a bad thing…

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