Show the world what you believe…

June 27, 2020

I saw a quote while searching for something on-line that I had to save, because it rang so true.

“Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does.”  (Sukhraj S. Dhillon)

A hallmark of the younger generations seems to be putting their beliefs into practice, at least for many who turn out in the streets to protest things that they believe are wrong. While their elders (which includes my generation) may share many of the same beliefs, they have not been labeled “the silent majority” for no reason. Their actions and behaviors do not reflect those beliefs. Why is that?

While the term “politically correct” was coined more recently, most of us who are older grew up in a society where standing out or being noticed for your actions in support of yor beliefs was discouraged from a very young age. The old phrased “children should be seen but not heard” dates back to the late nineteenth century (and maybe earlier), but it was still the rule in the Twentieth Century. Most in the older generations were raised in an environment that encouraged “going along to get along”. That same environment encouraged us to look the other way when we saw racial injustices by the police or anyone and to tolerate the bigotry against gays and others who were “different”. Anyone showing empathy for the plight of any of those groups was immediately labeled a “bleeding heart liberal”, which was the precursor to today’s conservative hate label – “socialist”.

But, what of us, as individuals?

Events too large to ignore, like the Corona Virus Pandemic and the public outrage over recent police brutality against people of color test our beliefs and our behavior. Recent news stories about people congregating in bars and on beaches without regard to safety measures for themselves and others point to a society that is self-centered and bereft of societal concerns or obligations. This is a reflection of the “I got mine, you go get your own” mentality that drives us much of the time. And, the protest marches over recent police killings of people of color have yet to drive meaningful action or reform in Washington or at many State and local levels.

You may be tempted to say, “What can I do about that?” You can start by wearing a mask in public and practicing social distancing. That is not an act of selfishness; it is an act of regard for the well-being of those around you. Perhaps you are not the type to take to the streets to protest, but you can take to the ballot box to vote. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable shouting slogans at a rally; but, you can put a sign in your yard in support of a candidate or an idea. You may not take the megaphone to shout for justice; but you can talk to your friends and express your concerns and opinions. You can at least put your beliefs into some form of behavior that shows the world the beliefs you hold. If you get really brave, you can volunteer at a local food bank or shelter – actually doing something about the hunger that exists in every community, instead of just being concerned about it.  

Beliefs that are hidden away or suppressed are like faith that is not acted upon. The Bible tells us –

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. …”  (James 2:14-26)

I have a sign on my front lawn right now that shows a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr – “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

What matters to you? If you believe in something, show the world through your works as well as your words. Change your behavior to reflect your beliefs.


There are no simple answers…

June 14, 2020

As we all watched (or participated in) the Black lives matter protests of the last two weeks over the killing of George Floyd, a simple answer began to show up on signs  in cities across the country – Defund the Police. The slogan showed up because it is simple and fits easily on a protest sign or can be easily painted on a street. But, is it a real answer to a very complex and deep-seated problem within our American society? Probably not.

Even within the various protest groups, there is little agreement about what the phrase Defund the Police actually means. For most it includes reducing the militarization of the police and changing policing tactics away from the use of chock holds and the use of deadly force; however, from there the changes demanded are all over the map. That is because the problem itself is too complex to be reduced to a simple answer that fits within a slogan.

Like many approaches in healthcare, the Defund the Police seeks to mitigate one of the symptoms of the problem, rather than seeking to make changes that will have a preventative effect on the root causes. From well before the emancipation of the slaves there has existed a mentality of “Them” vs. “Us”, where the easy way to know which was which was by appearance (mainly the color of their skin).

The freeing of the slaves changed the equation from owner and slave model into a model based upon “owners of everything else” and “the ex-slaves”. The oppression of ownership slavery became the oppression of economic slavery. The hardships of the freed black people shifted from their white masters using whips and chains to control them to the use of economics and laws (and the police to enforce those laws) designed to keep them in their place.

While America had no official Apartheid laws as such, we did have our Jim Crow laws at the states level, which were overlooked for far too long and which had great influence on shaping our society’s thoughts about race. As a nation, we maintained (and still maintain) a “Them vs. “Us” mentality based largely on identifying the members of those groups by skin color.

That mentality greatly affected everything from education to job opportunities to law enforcement. It led to the simplistic approach of building more prisons to house “them”, as opposed to figuring out how to change things to provide more opportunity; so that some many of “them” wouldn’t end up committing crimes and filling those prisons. It also facilitated looking the other way when so many of “them” received poor and often fatal treatment by the police. After all, the police were protecting “Us” from “Them”.

We always knew that the situation was wrong and not sustainable, but it was easier to look that other way, so long as our police kept things under control (even if they had to keep their methods under wraps, too). That all exploded when outrage over the death of George Floyd tipped things beyond the ability of the police to control. All of a sudden, the root cause problems could no longer be swept under r the rug. The problems were exposed for all to see on the nightly news and the search for answers begun.

Thus popped up the simple answer – Defund the Police. There’s not room on protest signs for the more complete thoughts underlying that phrase – to defund the police as it exists today in its aggressive and militarist form and shift the responsibilities and funds to groups that are more focused upon defusing and resolving problems than just on physical control and incarceration. The idea of Neighborhood Policing is often mentioned, with only a vague idea of what that means given.  Stories have pointed to several successes in American cities of that shift, as proof that a different approach works.

Sharing successful alternatives to the current police environment is a start, but it really only focuses on one small aspect of the bigger, systemic racism problem in our society that is the real problem. We seem to have more success as a nation when we are facing an “It” problem vs. facing a ”Them” problem. “Us” vs. Smoking was a big success. “Us” vs. Cancer has had wide support. More recently the fight of “Us” vs. Corona Virus was almost universally supported (at least for a while). Maybe we need to refocus upon “Us” vs. Racism.

Like with the recent Corona Virus response, there will always be those who are so self-centered and selfish that they will rail against anything that they feels impinges upon their personal freedom. They are the ones who refuse to wear a mask in public places or to maintain social distancing. There will be those who refuse to admit to racism, but who continue to discriminate in their words or deeds, with the claim that they somehow have a Constitutional right to speech and actions that cause pain or harm to others. Until we get to the herd mentality that racism is fundamentally bad and harmful for our society and make it uncomfortable for people to exhibit racism, we will be providing cover for the racists and allowing their laws and behaviors to continue.

There are no simple answers to this problem, but there is a simple starting point – it starts with you and me. If we say and act like racism is wrong and bad, and we change our ways; we will begin influencing others to say and act like it, too. If enough of Us do it together then It will fade away. Quite frankly, it feels better to be part of that “Us” group against racism  than to be a part of the “them” in this battle.

Won’t you join “Us” in this fight?


Things left undone…

June 13, 2020

Each week in our church service we start with a prayer of forgiveness in which we ask God for His forgiveness for our sins – the things that we have done AND the things that we have left undone. For most there are probably just a few things (if any) that we have done for which we should seek forgiveness; however, for all there are probably many things that we have left undone. For many it may be passing by on the other side, instead of stopping to help (see Luke 10:25-37). Forgive me for things left undone.

We may think we are too busy to stop and help or perhaps we think it is none of our business and we don’t want to get involved when we see an injustice or witness things like bullying, domestic violence or police brutality. Some may stop to record the event on their phone, which is what we see on the nightly news. However, what is often left undone is the intercession to offer help. Being a witness is not the same as helping. Sitting on the sidelines and going “Tut, tut, that’s terrible” is not the same as jumping in to help or joining the protest march. Forgive me for things left undone.

Sitting at home and watching events unfold on the nightly news is another example. When protesters are marching and demanding change in our society, being an observer from the comfort of your home is leaving things undone. Watching a protest march on Facebook live is not the same as being there. Even “Liking” or commenting on a post to agree with the position being  taken is not the same as making your own post or expressing your own feelings. Forgive me for things left undone.

The things that we don’t do aren’t all about negatives. Many are actually very positive things that we leave undone because we just don’t make the effort. Smiling at the person you pass and saying ”Good morning”, or perhaps simply opening  the door for the person behind you at the store are examples. It isn’t that we don’t care, it’s usually that we just done think about it. We are so focused upon ourselves and what we see as important in the moment that we don’t notice the opportunity to show kindness to others. Forgive me for things left undone.

One may think that they are busy trying to do the right things themselves and don’t have time to worry about others, but that is not what God wants us to do. Look at just a few of the times from the Bible that we are told what is expected of us –

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4 )

 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

 “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1:17)

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17 )

To which we are left to say – Forgive me for things left undone.

Perhaps the advice that we should heed is found in the Nike slogan – Just Do It!


The cameras are rolling…

June 2, 2020

Jack used a quote in his Jack’s Winning Words blog today that rings true – “Racism is not getting worse.  It’s getting filmed.”  (Will Smith). I’ve been around long enough to know that racism has always been there, but smartphones with video  recording capabilities were not always there to capture it and let it be shown on the nightly news.

The Civil Rights movement in the 50’s and 60’s succeeded in getting many of the overt signs of racism removed and caused changes to the American Education system, but it did not cause racism to go away. Much of the focus of racism shifted from social expressions of separation onto economic and political means of subjugation of the black community.

The racism that sparked the marches and speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was still there when the news cameras stopped filming. It had become “old news”. But the protests against it never stopped. I remember Tommie Smith and John Carlos each raising a black-gloved fist during the playing of the US national anthem at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. The news media was all over that. And there were the riots and protests in 1968 over the killing of Dr. King. That got news coverage for days.

I remember also the news coverage of the desegregation of Boston’s public schools and the hate that made the nightly news shows as schools across America were order to desegregate. Much of the focus of protest during the late 60’s and early 70’s was on the Viet Nam war, but racism was always there and sometimes not below the surface.

In 1980 Miami erupted into violent protest and riots over the killing of a black man by four white police officers. And in the 1990’s In Los Angeles in 1992 a week-long series of riots, lootings, arsons and civil disturbance that occurred i, following the acquittal of police officers on trial regarding the assault of Rodney King. That was the last time that the U.S. Army was called upon to quell the rioting.

In the 2000’s much of the attention of the news services shifted to covering mass shootings; but there was always racism bubbling up in the background somewhere. These are just some that made the news:

2001: Cincinnati riots – April – in the African-American section of Over-the-Rhine.

2009: Oakland, CA – Riots following the BART Police shooting of Oscar Grant.

2012: Anaheim, California Riot—followed the shooting of two Hispanic males

2014: Ferguson, MO riots – Riots following the Shooting of Michael Brown

2015: 2015 Baltimore riots – Riots following the death of Freddie Gray

2015: Ferguson unrest – Riots following the anniversary of the Shooting of Michael Brown

2016: 2016 Milwaukee riots – Riots following the fatal shooting of 23 year old Sylville Smith.

2016: Charlotte riot, September 20–21, Riots started in response to the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by police

2017: St. Louis protests, beginning September 15, large protests erupted when police officer Jason Stockley was found not guilty of murder in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith.

2019: Memphis riot, June 13, following the fatal shooting of Brandon Webber by U.S. Marshals, Memphis, TN.

It is notable that the first smartphone cameras were introduced in 2002 by Samsung and Sprint introduced the first camera equipped smartphone in the U.S. The public has been documenting racial incidents and the riots that often followed ever since. As soon as the camera quality become good enough for the video to be used on the nightly news we began seeing the stories of racial discrimination and the resulting unrest pop up again on our TVs. It had always been there, but no one could capture it until technology gave bystanders a video camera in their pockets. Some, as we have recently seen in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, were not innocent bystanders; but, rather, were participating in the acts by documentation.

Will Smith is right that things haven’t changed very much, they are just getting documented better. However, it is that constant reminder of the things that need to be changed that will eventually cause that change. It was the ugly nightly newscast pictures and video that eventually drove change at the national and state levels in the 1960’s. Today, it will be the smartphone videos on the nightly news that thrust the ugly reality of racism into our homes, which will drive change. The question is – How many people have to die on camera for us to make those changes?

Let your political representatives know that you have seen enough and demand that they make changes. Let’s turn the cameras on them and see what they do.


Life goes on, just like this…

May 31, 2020

In his blog, Jack’s Winnng Words, Pastor Jack Freed used this quote recently – “Life is a series of commas, not periods.”  (Matthew McConaughey) 

What McConaughey (and Jack) was alluding to are the pauses that we occasionally encounter in life, like the pause that one makes upon encountering a comma in a sentence. It is not the end of the sentence, just a pause before the sentence continues. Sometimes, life takes off in a new direction after the pause; but most of the time it just continues.

The current Corona Virus Pandemic has certainly thrown many commas into our lives and maybe sent us off in new directions. We hear about “the new normal” and see all around us the impact of the changes that have occurred. Life will never be the same. There is no going back to the old normal. That has actually always been the case; it’s just that change normally takes place over longer periods of time and occurs in different areas at different times. Businesses come and go all the time; it’s just that so many usually don’t go at the same time. Big events that were cancelled in the entertainment and sports world caused disappointment, but changed little in most lives. The economic disruption is both real and painful, but it too shall pass. Comma, comma, comma.

The pandemic has caused disruption in most lives and destruction is some lives; but, for most, there is more life ahead, after this comma. Our challenge is not to be stuck on the wrong side of the comma; not to let ourselves be bogged down in lamenting what was, but to get on with what will be. We cannot change what has already happened, but we definitely can change what will be – what is on the other side of this comma.

It is time to acknowledge this comma in our lives, time to pause and take a deep breath, and time get on to the other side of the comma. This is not a time to let frustration and anger rule our lives. It will take all of our focus, energy and creativity to adjust and flourish in” the new normal”.  We don’t have time to waste railing against the change or lounging for the way things were.

Perhaps you can use this pause in you r life to also to also revisit, and maybe revitalize, your faith. If you have so far been spared the agony of this disease or maybe have gone through it and recovered, you can take a moment to thank God. You can also pray for God to give you the strength and determination to continue on the other side of this comma. God is the one constant amidst all of this change and can serve as your touchstone as you seek to move beyond this comma in your life.

What is on the other side of this comma for you is yet to be determined. Maybe it’s? Or maybe it’s!


Where are the leaders of today?

May 29, 2020

Pastor Freed used this quote some time ago in his Jack’s Winning Words blog and I’ve been saving it for inspiration – “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”  (John Quincy Adams)

Leaders aren’t cynics, like our current Tweeter-in-Chief. Leaders don’t lead by painting negative pictures, they lead by offering inspiring visions that others want to follow. As I thought back over the last few decades of presidents that we’ve had in Washington, there have been few real leaders. There have been a few competent stewards of the nation and some good men who just didn’t inspire us. There have also more than a few politically savvy fools who took us off into wrong directions. Rather than try to evaluate and label the various occupants of the White House over my lifetime, I will just say that, in my opinion, we’ve only had maybe 2 Presidents that I would say had the vision and charisma to be called true leaders.

During the recent Democratic primary season, we got glimpses of candidates with leadership potential. Men and women with visions of what this country could be with the proper direction and leadership. Obviously, none of them were there yet and the Democratic Party ended up with what they felt was a safe fallback candidate. So, we are faced again this election with a choice that, while obvious, does not inspire the electorate to dream about a greater future, just about a less foolhardy one.

Perhaps this is the consequence of the polarization of the two political parties and the lack of any viable third alternative. The parties seem to embrace candidates that are safe and predicable (although one party has veered sharply away from those values), even if they don’t really inspire us. The rhetoric of current politics has shifted from expressing positive messages about where we could go to focusing upon conspiracy theories, mudslinging and name-calling.  Instead of aspiring to go to the moon, as we once did, we are now harangued to protest against whoever occupies the leadership position. It is sad that we no longer march as a nation toward some goal, but instead march in protest against almost every decision made at the top, no matter which party is in power.

We should be watching the elections at the state level, whether for state offices or congressional seats, looking for that elusive spark of leadership that may serve to unite and excite us all. I’m sure that the leaders of tomorrow are out there. I just hope that the muck of our current political landscape hasn’t become so nasty and pervasive that they have soured against applying their leadership skills to pursuit of political offices.

Let’s all hope that true leaders emerge from the mess that we find ourselves in now. Perhaps we are in the darkest hour before a new sunrise of leadership. I want to be inspired by my leaders again.


Now is not the time to disobey…

May 27, 2020

Two quotes that I’ve saved from past posts to the Jack’s Winning Words blog (one from today and one from several weeks ago) seem to point to it being OK to disobey the rules, to even encourage civil disobedience .

“If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.”  (Katharine Hepburn)

-and-

“Good men must not obey the laws too well.”  (Emerson)

Jack went on to use both quotes to make positive points and not to encourage disobeying the current rules that are in effect to fight against the Corona Virus pandemic.

It is true that some of the rules that are currently imposed upon us all seem to take away the opportunity for us to have fun. We are a society that is used to gathering in large, boisterous crowds to have fun. We love our sporting events, our pool parties and many other activities that we do together. It is just not the same to be watching something alone, when it comes time to celebrate.

No one said life would always be fun. The Declaration of Independence mentions “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, but it says nothing about fun. The Constitution also fails to mention fun as an inalienable right, yet many rail in demonstrations that they have a right to do whatever it is that they want to do to have fun.

Few (though unfortunately not everyone) would argue that they have the right to stand in a crowded room of people and shoot a gun off in random directions; yet, that is what they are arguing for by demanding that they be allowed to stand in a crowd with Covid-19 infected people coughing  (or just speaking) in random directions. The end-effect of people dying is the same.

The statistics show that the percentage of infected people varies by week and by region, but hovers somewhere around 10%, with as many as 50% of those people being totally unaware that they are infected and spreading  the disease. So maybe being out in public without taking any precautions is more like being handed a random gun and being instructed to play Russian roulette with it. You know that there’s a bullet in the gun somewhere, but you just don’t know if the next pull of the trigger will bring a click or a sound that you will never hear. Is that fun? Did you get the last laugh?

Common sense, which seems in short supply these days, would seem to dictate caution over the pursuit of fun. Yet we see news stories on TV almost daily where someone (usually a very young someone) with beer in hand looks at the camera and says, “I don’t care about the virus, I just want to have fun.”  It is left up to our imagination what that same young person may look like with ventilator tubes going down their throat.

Until there is an effective vaccination against this disease, it is not OK to disobey the preventative rules that our health and government leaders are trying to impose for our own good. It is not fun, but the alternative is not fun either. If you need guidance from the Bible to help you understand what you should be doing see –

“Do not seek your own personal interests alone, but also the interests of others,”  (Philippians 2:4)

-and-

“Since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.”  (1 John 4:11)

There will be a time for fun as we are told in Ecclesiastes 3:1,4 – “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under Heaven…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” That time is just not right now. Now is the time to obey the rules and show your love for others by being safe and helping keep them safe.

Be safe and stay healthy…the time for fun is coming.


Find Your Happy Place…Find God

May 20, 2020

I saw “Find Your Happy Place” on the cover of the Readers Digest that my wife gets. I didn’t read the article in that edition of the Digest, but I did Google “how to find your happy place”. It turns out that there are quite a few places called Happy Place, more than a few of which are bars or liquor stores. Hopefully you don’t find what passes for your happy place in them.

The definitions and advice that comes back when you search on finding your happy place tend to involve doing things to distract and calm your mind, to stop fretting about whatever has been worrying you and focus instead on thoughts that make you happy or that made you happy once. The advice ranged from thoughts of a place that was visually satisfying or remembering an experience that was pleasant. The take-away is that your happy place is a state of mind more than a place.

The process of finding your happy pace is like de-cluttering you r mind; getting rid of all of the thoughts and imagined bad outcomes of whatever you are facing and focusing instead on thoughts that bring happiness into focus in your mind. I have opined here many times about how our imaginations, as wonderful as they are, can take us down rat holes of implausible, yet scary, outcomes to our problems. If we let our imaginations run away with us, we end up depressed about, or terrified about, things that will never happen.

The more that I thought about the advice that was available on finding your happy place, the more that it became clear that  what you were really doing is finding your way back to God. The techniques that are recommended to clear and clam the mind just allow one to get rid of the things that were keeping them from seeing God in their life and reaffirming their trust in Him. Being in one’s happy place allows one to let go of those problems and give them to God. It is a state of mind that allows one to pray, “Not my will, but thy will be done” and to give up ownership of the problem.

In the midst of the worst situation that any of us could have imagined, it is particularly important that we make the effort to find our happy place and re-engage with God. None of us is going to solve this problem by ourselves and for many it will be the most terrible thing that they have had to endure. Yet, waiting patiently in the background, in your happy place, is our God. Find Him and you will be at peace, in your happy place, unafraid of the future.

Find your happy place today…Find God.


Stuck in phase three…

May 17, 2020

I opined here a couple of times about the four phases that I predicted the people of this country would go through in this pandemic – see post What’s Your Plan? And my second post Time for Plan B. Those posts were made in March and April, which now seems like a long time ago. The first phase I liken to the shock and awe. The second phase is fear and anxiety. The third phase is frustration and anger. The fourth phase is when one accepts the current situation (it is what it is) and begins formulating and acting upon plans to make the best of it – finding ways to get on with life.

We have been through phases 1 and 2 and many have made it through phase 3 and moved on to phase 4, which is getting creative about how to live under the changes brought about by “new normal”. However, many seem to be stuck in Phase 3, primarily those who reacted in anger, due to their frustrations. Within a large population there will also ways be a significant portion who out of ignorance, obstinacy,  anger or all three will defy whatever they are advised or ordered to do. These are many of the same people who don’t stop at stop signs, because it is inconvenient for them to have to obey our stinking laws. They run around in T-shirts with “Live Free or Die” on them, which in the case of this pandemic should be changed to Live Free AND Die.

It would be easy to dismiss them as a radical fringe that should be ignored; however, their actions put other innocent people at risk. Unfortunately, when they return from their protest rallies they mix back into society (although some are easy to spot and avoid, since they refuse to wear masks in public) and go about potentially infecting others. When they get sick, they also demand treatment just like others who took precautions. No wonder the health care workers get so disgusted by their protest actions.

As Christians, this is one of those cases where we have to swallow hard and implement the advice that we have been given to “Forgive those who trespass against us”. I’m not sure that prayer is all that effective against anger and stupidity, but it is what we have to work with; so pray for those who can’t seem to get passed phase 3. Pray that patience, understanding and concern for others will overcome their frustration and anger. Pray for them to turn the energy that they are wasting in angry protest towards figuring out how to adapt to a situation that is not likely to change or go away.  Pray for them to go on to phase 4.

If you are one of those people who find themselves stuck in phase 3, you can pray, too. Perhaps praying, “Not my will, but Thy will be done” will help you pivot away from the self-destructive frustration and anger that you feel now and allow you to refocus on what you can be doing in a positive way to move on and adapt to the situation. Perhaps prayer will also help you see that the sacrifices that you have been asked to make are not a usurpation of your freedoms, but were put in place to try to help everyone be safer and able to move forward.

Get unstuck and move on to phase 4. We need your help getting on with life, not your protests. It’s not all about you, it’s all about us and a nation.


Let it go and move on…

May 16, 2020

We keep hearing about “the new normal”; but that is because most are still clinging to the hope of returning to the past – “the old normal”.

A quote from a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Word blog comes to mind – “If you have a hard time forgetting the past, remember you can’t drive a car forward by looking into the rearview mirror.”

I’ve written here in the past about letting things go, usually about mistakes that one has made or old relationships that went awry; but, this is different. When your whole way of life is impacted by events it is harder to find a way to let go of how things were and move on with how things are. Really big events, like wars or the happening of 9/11 or pandemics can dramatically reshape our lives and take a long time to put behind us.

We do need to stop looking back at how things were and start figuring out the best way forward in our “new normal”. Many have already taken the step of procuring stylish face masks, having decided that if one has to wear a mask, it should at least be stylish or attractive. I suspect that most also carry hand sanitizer with them and take the time to sanitize often. Most are practicing some amount of social distancing and I suspect that will continue for a while. It may take a while for many of us to get comfortable in crowded spaces or to allow personal touch at places, such as barbershops and hair salons, but that will come out of necessity.

We must also deal with the permanent changes in our economy that this crisis has caused– the companies, stores and restaurants that will now be gone and the business practices that have changed. This crisis exacerbated an already troublesome trend for some merchants of people shopping on-line instead of in their stores. Many more people stayed home and shopped at Amazon, Wayfair, Chewy or other on-line stores than would have otherwise.  Many local merchants also joined the on-line trend as a way to survive during the crisis, but they will likely still depend upon local foot traffic for their future; it will just be a little different in the stores.

Restaurants were probably hardest hit, with many not expected to reopen (estimates are that between 10-15% of all restaurants will be permanently closed). Those that do reopen will present a very different look to patrons, with capacity limitations and social distancing constraints greatly impacting the dining experience. The menu’s may be the same, but “going out to eat” will never quite be the same. Still, it’s better than staying home to eat and we can still see other people – they are only 6’ away.

It can take a generation or two for these big, life-changing events to be pushed down in our consciousness to the point where we don’t think of them often. Those who lived through them seldom forget them, because they remember what life was like before them. Those born after the event have no frame of reference for how things here. For them “the new normal” is just normal.

So, here we are, about to start the “new normal”. A big first step will be putting the old normal behind us instead of continuing to look in that rear view mirror. Let it go and let’s move on.

 My, what a stylish mask you have on, where did you get that?