A New Normal

The New Normal

I don’t like it. And from what I gather, I’m not alone.

I’ve been thinking about it. Someday I’ll go back to the grocery store – without a mask. I’ll get my hair cut and colored. I’ll hug a friend, a neighbor. Or will I? Will it ever be the same? Experts tell us it won’t. It’ll be a new normal.

I haven’t liked the new normals of the past. The empty nest when the kids left home. Life without Mama after she passed. Life without Daddy. I really don’t want a new normal.

Spring was an especially difficult time here in Michigan to isolate. While I waited, I walked around my house. I cooked. I baked. I order groceries. I sent out sympathy cards. I prayed. Oh God. Give me wisdom. I can’t seem to focus without your direction.

I had plenty to do. Spring cleaning. A lifetime of photos to sort – to scan – to organize. A devotional book to write. A Bible Study to promote. But no motivation. It rained. It hailed. Finally the sun shone! I stepped outside. I walked. Worked in the garden. Planted. Breathed in the fresh air. Soaked up the sunshine. I prayed. Oh God. Give me wisdom.

The wisdom is found in the Word. He is the wisdom. I listened. He spoke. I heard “Jesus whispers!”

“Kathi, you are coming to a crossroad. This is where the paths meet. This is where wisdom takes her stand. This is where you take your stand. Wisdom is crying out to you. Stand at these crossroads and look at your past. Ask for the ancient paths, the paths where you have found wisdom before. Ask for the good way. Find it. Walk in that way. It’s where you’ll find rest for your soul.” 

Now it’s late summer. Strict isolation has ended yet we are constantly aware of “the virus.” It’s an enemy. It haunts. It taunts.  We still don’t know what the future holds.

We are at a crossroad. I have a choice. I determine my new normal. I want to be wise in choosing the path I take out of this time of isolation, social distancing, mask wearing. Of lockdown. Of stay-at-home.

Wisdom is crying out to me. Am I listening? Am I heeding the message?

I look at the past as the Word says. Good decisions. Bad decisions. I’ll be wise to learn from both.

I consider the ancient paths. Hebrews, chapter 11, begins by telling us that the “ancients” were commended for their faith. Then it gives example after example of those who exhibited tremendous faith. This is where I start – in the Word. A bit further, in chapter 13, I read to remember those who spoke the word of God to me – to imitate their faith. So as I consider the past, I ask, Where have I seen wisdom in action? Who displayed wisdom? Who modeled it? I think of those strongholds of the faith – Corrie tenBoom, who hid Jews in her home during the Holocaust and was herself punished in a concentration camp. She walked in “the good way.” I think of missionaries through the centuries. I think of Reverend Lindner, who led me to Christ – who faithfully taught children about Jesus. As I look at the “ancient paths,” I think of countless, wise models of wisdom. Those who have taken the “good way” God tells me to take – as I choose the path at this “crossroad” in my life.

What have I learned during these unprecedented, unwanted months? I’ve been comfortable, but I’ve observed others who are not. I’ve known people with COVID19 who have recovered; and I’ve know some who’ve suffered unbearably from it. I’ve spent days filled with anxiety; I’ve spent days filled with contentment. But most of those days are filled with a sense of uneasiness. None have been “normal.”  Families are struggling. Friends have lost their loved ones and cannot have a funeral. Drive-through funeral visitations have become a norm in my community. I remember the days of sitting at a social distance with my own flesh and blood in order to speak for a few minutes. I FaceTimed or Zoomed with my family that live away. I’ve learned that although the expression, “we’re all in this together” is tossed around with the purpose of bringing hope and encouragement, hate is nonetheless sown, as well, and it germinates and produces an ugly poisonous plant. Politics always seem to have the trump card in every discussion, and the rules change as the game progresses. I’m truly not fond of facing a “new normal.”

This time will end. I’m at a crossroad. And you are too. We face a “new normal.” I don’t want to choose the comfortable path that I used to think was the most important thing in this world. I want to have learned from what we’ve been through. I want to reach out – physically and in spirit – to those who are struggling. I want to play by God’s rules. I want the seed I sow to produce a beautiful plant – one that glorifies God. I want to choose the “good way” and walk in it. And as I hear “Jesus whispers,” (the Word of God) I’ll find rest for my soul in that “way.” Rest is what it’s all about. Not the rest I get at night when I sleep. Or the rest I encounter when I sit around the house these days, lacking energy or purpose. But the rest I read about in the Word. The rest He promises. The rest I desire. The rest of my spirit. The rest that brings me peace, knowing everything is well, knowing my future is secure. (I wrote a bit about rest in another recent post in this series: https://kathiwaligora.com/shelter-in-place/)

Your future is before you. Let’s not be overly concerned about finding the “new normal,” but be more concerned about choosing the right path at this crossroad; the “way” – the “good way” – and walking in it.

Further Reading: Proverbs 8:2; Jeremiah 6:16; Hebrews 11; Hebrews 13:7