Skip to main content

Moving from Crisis to the New Normal

With coronavirus, most of us have been in crisis mode since the second week of March. We burned the candle at both ends, and relit another from its flame right before it sputtered out. We figured out how to do our jobs from home, help our kids do school from home, and how to take care of ourselves and each other as best we could.

I mean, it really is sort of amazing. I know our church was up and online in 7 days. People who had never ordered groceries swiftly learned how to do curbside or delivery. People who hated computers and wanted nothing to do with them took a deep breath, downloaded Zoom, and have been getting on regularly, cheering the spirits of their friends and family members. Bravo, us!

Now, we're facing the idea that this is probably going to go on for a while, and we're going to need to find sustainable ways to live in this way. We're experimenting with expanding our protective bubbles,  moving our furniture around, throwing out the sourdough starter if we don't actually want to bake bread, and figuring out how we can do things in better and/or easier ways. We're moving out of crisis mode.

And good thing, because there are other crises ready to pile on top, and we have to figure out how to do them in the time of Corona.

As for me, I'm going to hit "pause" on writing blog pieces 5 times a week and go back to my sporadic practice, which means there may be one post a week, or none, or 5 in one day if I really get riled. If you're a member of Live Oak, I'll still be writing once a week in our newsletter, and you can always follow me on Facebook.

I resisted calling this time "the new normal," which was probably 98% me still in fierce denial that this was happening and would continue to happen for the foreseeable future.

But here's the deal ... it is. This is the new normal and we can't wish it away. But from my experience, anything can become ordinary. That was one of the big surprises of childhood cancer, how quickly it became normal, the routine of going to the hospital, taking the meds, walking the floors while pushing her iv pole.

The goal now is to make it the best version of this normal it can be. To be of service to each other, to work for justice, and to find some pleasure in each day. "Ordinary Time" in the pandemic.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Don't Trust Your Instincts, or, "Well-Meaning People Can Exacerbate Big Problems"

My evangelical friends talk about being "convicted." That moment when you hear or read a message and like an arrow, it dives into your heart, and you know that you have been guilty, and you have some growing to do. At the very beginning of my learning about Bowen systems theory, the professor was laying out the basic idea: that we all feel anxiety, and when we do, we act (often in unhealthy ways) in order to lessen our anxiety. And in an unhealthy system with emotionally immature people -- a family, a business, a church -- one person's anxiety can trigger the anxiety of others. Here's a great primer on that. Really great. Like, watch it 20 times in a row. Or every morning as you drink your coffee. (I'm not kidding. I think your life would be better. Consider it a spiritual practice.) So back to my conviction moment. The professor went on to talk about how when we see someone who is "vibrating" with anxiety, our instinct is often to rush over,

The Most Controversial Thing I'll Write All Year

Back when you were a kid, you learned a lesson. It was wrong. And it's time for you to unlearn it. You learned that you were responsible for other people's feelings. Not that you should care about other people's feelings. (You should.) Not just that you should be sensitive to other people's feelings. (You should.) But you were taught that you were actually responsible for other people's feelings. It happens in almost all homes, even the loving ones. In abusive homes, it's more blatant. If Dad is unhappy, you get hit. So you learn that it is actually your responsibility to keep him happy, or there would be consequences. But even in non-abusive homes, it happened. If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.  You are not responsible for other people's feelings. That's their job. And in fact, you are crossing their boundary if you try to control their feelings. They get to decide how they feel about something, not you. They may decide that you

Me and My Collar

You may run into me on a Friday, in my neighborhood, so it's time I let you know what you might see. When I was doing my required unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), my supervisor suggested that any of us who came from traditions where a clerical collar was an option, take one "collar week," to see how we were treated, as opposed to wearing regular professional clothes. After a couple of days, I joked to the Catholic priest, "How do you manage the power?" In regular clothes, I would walk into a patient's room, and it would take about 5 or so minutes of introductions and pleasantries before we could really get down to talking about their feelings, their fears, the deep stuff. With most people, as soon as that clerical collar walked in the room, with me attached, they began pouring out all the heavy stuff they were carrying. I was riding the bus back and forth every day, and though not quite so dramatic, the collar effect was alive there, to