During the current pandemic, I have noticed a shift in certain things. I hear over and again people saying they cannot wait for things to get back to normal. I think I understand what they mean. They do not like some of the inconveniences that the situation brings. There are a couple of things I think when I hear those statements.
First, everything is not going to return back to the way it was. There will be some changes to our world that will cause some things to never be the same. Every crisis I have ever experienced personally or I have seen happen in a community or region has caused some things to change. Some of them may be simple. Some of them may be more drastic. Either way very rarely has something traumatized returned to its previous state.
The second thing that comes to my mind when I hear this statement is there are some things that I do not want to return to the way they were. This disruption has created some very positive outcomes that I hope will continue long after this pandemic has passed. Here are five things I hope never return to their previous place.
Genuine Concern For Others
It is so easy to get wrapped up in our busy lives and problems that we walk right past people who are in need. Recently I have seen a real shift in the concern we have for others. We are checking on our neighbors. We want to know how business owners in our community are doing. We are calling and texting people to make sure they are ok. These people have been here all along, it has been easy to overlook them or assume they were doing just fine. I hope we never go back to the place where we find it easy to ignore the welfare of our neighbor.
We can’t gather for events and church services. We are supposed to stay home and not visit family. Many people cannot go to their office so they are working from home. We have been forced to find creative ways to communicate. Families and friends are using Zoom calls. Teachers are gathering classes virtually to have a conversation. Pastors are recording videos and church services that had long been resisting. Churches are having drive-in worship where people stay in their cars. Communities are having parades and people are riding by with well-wishes for birthdays and special events. I hope that we continue to find creative ways to communicate with one another.
I believe people have always prayed. History tells us that tough times cause people to return to their faith and pray more. I have noticed a real draw to prayer myself, but I have also seen many others spending more time in prayer. People have been more open to asking for prayer during these times as well. Bearing the burdens of one another is something we should always do. A stronger emphasis in prayer is beneficial for all of us.
We are used to the stars of the world being athletes and movie stars. But with sporting events canceled and theaters closed those people no longer dominate our news cycles. Add to that the need for food, supplies, and medical care and suddenly people like clerks at the supermarket, drivers for the delivery service and nurses and doctors have taken preeminence in our culture. Teachers are being lauded for their versatility and willingness to support students no matter what. I am reminded of what Jesus said about the first being last and the last being first. I hope we can keep those roles reversed.
We want what we want. And we are willing to drive just about anywhere to get what we want. And if it is $5.00 cheaper 40 miles away, we will spend $10.00 in gas and $30.00 in time to save that $5.00. Now suddenly some of our neighbors are in danger of losing their business because of closures and we want to make sure we support those local stores so they can survive. These stores do not need us just to be intentional for the next 30 days, they need us to be intentional every day. Shopping locally would make all of our communities more viable and allow us to live in a more vibrant place. I hope we shop local long after these orders have passed.
I am sure some things will return to normal soon. Something else will dominate the news cycle. People will return to the things they are comfortable with. I just hope some things do not return to normal. Our lives will be better if they don’t.