Getting used to the new normal

Spanish news, American news, British news … they’re all talking about “the new normal.” Of course, no one has a clue what that means. There’s not one definition and not one recommendation, but we’re all supposed to get accustomed to things being different.

I had to laugh about a month ago when the climate activists were rejoicing about no smog in major cities like Beijing, Rome, Madrid, etc. where there were major shutdowns. Great. No pollution.

People are all shut up in their homes.

They cannot work.

People cannot drive anywhere unless it is critical to their wellbeing.

Look how it’s helping the climate. Animals in our streets. More bees.

We saved a lot on fuel for our car these past months. Of course. We couldn’t go to church or anywhere.

Is this the new normal? Forbidden to do anything or go anywhere?

“People aren’t spending extra money on clothing,” one news medium touts. “Isn’t that wonderful?” Well, when people aren’t allowed to leave their homes and the clothing sections of supermarkets are roped off, it’s not exactly a hard choice.

Then, we have the new social distancing normal. No one even knew what social distance was until recently, but these guidelines are hilarious, too. Some think it’s a meter (yard) and a half. Some say six feet. I heard a polititian say twelve feet today on the news. Where’d he get that?

Social distancing means we can’t hug, kiss, or touch. Our old people can’t have visitors. If you ask me, that’s just distancing, nothing social about it at all.

We went to church for the first time on Sunday. Our people sat a little farther apart than is prescribed by law. All of us wore masks. We sanitized our hands as we walked in. I waved to the others. There was no mingling, no fellowship, and no talking or hanging around before or after the service. It sure beats virtual meetings, and we’ll accept it for now.

But, the new normal?

Not normal. Not at all. Spanish society is all about touching, warmth, and relating to each other. Friendships. It’s one of the things I love about living here.

I have yet to go to the grocery store—after ten weeks—and I haven’t been in any large town. I am only now allowed to ride with my own husband in our own car. Woo hoo!

New normal.

No one would accept this forever, and I don’t think it will be forever.

Plexiglass divisions at restaurant tables? Puh-lease!

Yes, be careful. Wear a mask, if need be. Take care of others and yourself, and please wash your hands often and well.  If anything becomes a new normal, I hope it’s the handwashing thing. Just saying….

People were designed to relate to each other. Even before Adam was made from dust, God had planned a helper for him. God wanted the world populated and full of people. He wants us to care, fellowship, Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep (Romans 12:15).

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing (Ecclesiastes 3:1-5).

Sounds like today, doesn’t it? This is one of those times to refrain.

God knew all about pandemics in the past, and He wasn’t taken by surprise by this one.

As to a new normal?

I sincerely hope we learn to value what’s most important—especially our families and church gatherings—and we cut out some of the extra time-eaters. I hope people wash their hands more and contaminate less.

But, I also hope the new normal is close to the old normal … if normal even exists.

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