The Values We Carry. The Actions We Change. How a Pandemic Can Bring New Life.

I’ve worked remotely for the past 8 years. I’ve enjoyed the ability to connect with team members from a distance, utilizing new technologies as they become available and embracing the really great opportunities that just a decade or two ago, wouldn’t have been possible. I’ve thought my house has been pretty in order.

I’ve also leaned heavily on luxuries that felt normal: people to help with my kids, people to help clean our house, to help us grocery shop, regular paychecks, friends stopping by for coffee on the regular, and overall health.

When word that the world would be shutting down started to spread, my first thought – if I’m honest – was that I was sort of lucky; I was used to holding down the home fort and working from home while the world did its thing all around us. Sure, we’d have to change some routines, but really, nothing would change. Discomfort? Psh.

But Then It Did. The Heaviness Set In Fast.

We all knew things would look different, but, I don’t think any of us could understand how different. Simple tasks became noticeably harder. Connections that used to be easy, impromptu meetings, coffee-shop conversations and simple escapes like Starbucks while browsing Target aisles suddenly became impossible.

Deeper though, things that once seemed so, “in-reach,” felt like they were falling through our grasps.

Job security? Shakey at best.

Sending our kids off to be educated by others? Gone.

Heading to the store up to several times a day for convenience items without worrying about how we’d pay for them or if we’d have to worry about how we’d pay for them going forward? Also gone.

The security of being able to live like the cares of the world didn’t apply to us? Demolished.

The illusion of security that many of us believed shielded us from storms other places in the world was shattered.

The hurts of others became obvious, in many cases, they became our own.

The ability to watch the news and select causes we could care about, and those we could ignore while hiding behind convenient hashtags and symbols? It went away.

Suddenly, we were all staring at the same things, experiencing life along with others around the world with a magnitude that was intense and so big that at times – at least in our house – it felt suffocating.

We’ve all – from the youngest up to us as parents – had emotional outbursts that were surprising and unlike us. Personally, I’ve always been a “bright-side” sort of person. But there have been a few days that the darkness feels so heavy that I am not sure how to sort through the emotions it has produced.

There’s Still a Bright Side: But, It Requires Change…from All of Us

The thing is, the bright side isn’t gone.

This new normal? It’s brought about good things. But, those “good” things, sometimes mean accepting the hard truths outlined above along with others.

Here’s what I mean: the anxieties that have been pressed down for years, suddenly have to be acknowledged, along with facing them in order to work through them. Personally, this means I have to be okay with the clutter I used to consider unacceptable. I have to look at how that anxiety has affected my kids and my husband. I have to set new expectations if we’re going to get through this extended time of life in our house.

It also means I’ve had to accept the unknowns of the future, when before, I needed it to be planned out in great detail. It means what I used to consider “needs” may have actually been luxuries born of a privilege that I didn’t want to admit before 30 days ago (or, truthfully, even think I needed to admit).

I’ve had to face the fact that while I believed my reliance was fully on my Savior…I’ve been pretty good at feeling in control of my own situation and pushing myself into whatever felt right at the time. I’m more in need of a God that DOES know what’s coming and hold my life in His hands than I ever wanted to acknowledge. I don’t think I’m alone in this.

By facing these hard truths, and allowing myself to be shaken, there’s been growth. Tearful growth sometimes. But, there are new signs of life, really, new signs of a NEW life…that, all of us can look forward to if we’re willing to embrace the discomfort.

We’re All at Square One

Suddenly, the traditions that we’ve built and learned to depend on our gone. Our securities have proven themselves to be false. We’re all standing on a new horizon that – after the discomfort – could be refreshing.

We can decide what really matters. We can find new reliance on our faith. We can stop taking control of a future that was never ours to control in the first place.

We can SIMPLIFY our lives without having to figure out how to do it on our own; it’s been done for us.

We can focus on CONNECTIONS with our communities both close to us and around the world (thanks Zoom!). We can keep new normals like family dinners, back yard campfires, simple holidays born of shopping that’s simply not available anymore, taking time to look at the amazing creation that surrounds us, spending less, conversations with new neighbors who are out walking around out of a lack of other distractions, and having more of a role in the education of our kids.

We can rebuild in a world that more isn’t better and simple is truly best… a world where we are more connected to the needs of those that surround us than we’ve ever been before. We can bring back the community we all long for, whether we’ve realized it before or not.

That’s an exciting thing to think about. There’s a lot of hurt, insecurity, and unknowns between where we are today and what that looks like tomorrow, I’m not naive enough – or blinded to other circumstances – to bury that hard truth. Our family is  But, every day brings us a little closer to that future and to one another if we only allow it to.

Are we up to this challenge? Or, are we secretly waiting for the day that we can go back to “normal,” even if that “normal,” was never what allowed us to live out the lives we’ve been called to? Are we willing to shoulder the discomfort and allow this unknown to be the “great” unknown it could be?

I’m committing to it… Will you? Can we grow together during this unprecedented time? Can we become a community like never before, even during a time of great separation? Let’s go.

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