It is quite common to hear someone using the phrase “the new normal” these days and that brings the question of what “normal” is to mind, whether new or old.
According to the dictionary normal is –
conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
“it’s quite normal for puppies to bolt their food”
the usual, average, or typical state or condition.
“her temperature was above normal”
In both uses the word “expected” seems to apply as a useful definition. That also brings to mind another saying that the only thing consistent in life is change. The movie Ground Hog Day aside, I suspect that we all wake up each day expecting it to be different from yesterday. Maybe, for some, hoping it will be different is a better description.
One would have been hard pressed to imagine a little over a year ago that it would be as “normal” to reach for a face mask as it is to reach for one’s phone, yet that has become the expected for most of us. For the outliers who refuse to mask up, their contrarian attitude is consistent – it is normal for them.
So, our new normal is the state in which we have reached some degree of accommodation with whatever disruptive force impacted our routines and expectations. The disruption caused by the COVID-19 virus will take it’s place in our lives, just as the regular flu virus and other earlier diseases have. We will likely find getting an annual COVID booster shot to be a part of the new normal. For the generations alive during this pandemic some recognition of “the way things were” before the pandemic will become an indelible memory and part of the stories that will be passed down to future generations (for a while anyway).
Things will never again be the way they were, but then they will also never be the same tomorrow as they are today. We have been forced to confront change in our lives as never before. Out of that we have hopefully learned to better deal with change, to expect it rather than being surprised or annoyed by it. We certainly can’t stop change from happening, but we can learn to deal with it better. Thankfully, many have come to grips with change by embracing their faith in God. Those who can earnestly pray, “Not my will but thy will be done” are much better prepared to face of day full of change, putting their faith in God to be in control.
We probably will have many instances in our lives where we might still have to say, “I didn’t see that coming”. However, rather than railing against change; those who put their trust in God, can roll with the punches confident that God has a plan and that it will all work out for the best. As we desperately search for something that is unchanging to cling to, God becomes the only consistent answer. For believers, their faith is both the old and new normal.
Find your way back to normal by finding your way back to God. God never changes.