I was thinking the other day about how I want things to go back to “normal.”
Of course, what does that even mean these days? I don’t think we’ll ever go back to the way things were – the “normal” – before the COVID-19 pandemic hit our area in March.
Indeed, I think we’ve moved into a temporary “new normal,” and that will, unfortunately, include face masks, social distancing and lots of hand sanitizer. We don’t know when this “new normal” will end, and we don’t know what the future holds.
That’s a scary thing for us. We’re used to sort of being in control of our environments, and the pandemic has thrown us all for a loop. We’ve been displaced from our offices and even our creature comforts, like restaurants or the movie theater. Suddenly, everything seems crazy and out of control. The “normal” has been disrupted.
It’s not the end of the world. Scientists around the globe are working toward a vaccine for the dreaded novel coronavirus, and I’m confident we’ll see the results of their labor in the near future. I’m hopeful for that, anyway, and I pray for it daily. Hope keeps me anchored, and prayer keeps me somewhat sane.
I say “somewhat” because I often wonder if I’m living in an alternative universe. If you’re a “Star Trek” fan like I am, you’re probably familiar with the “Mirror Universe,” which is an odd parallel land the characters sometimes visit. In that universe, everything feels familiar, but everything is also slightly “off.” That’s what 2020 feels like to me.
I’ve been told that everyone feels that way, so that gives me some reassurance that I haven’t totally lost my marbles. I don’t know if my sanity will hold until the end of all of this, but I’m glad to know I’m not alone.
We’re all together in this strange new world, and we all need to hold hands – OK, after the virus passes – and confront our new reality as one united force. That’s the way we shape our “new normal” and make it a comfortable place for everyone to thrive.
For now, though, we must deal with the harsh realities of the pandemic, and we must follow the prescribed guidelines from local, state and national authorities. We must listen to science while relying on our faith and relationships to give us strength.
There’s been too much sickness and death, and we can use proven methods – such as face masks and increased hygiene efforts – to limit the impact of this virus. Those methods are among the tools we must use to construct a brighter future.
We have at our disposal a number of other tools that are required to build that future, and one of those tools is practicing the greatest commandment provided to us by God, which is “Love God, love people.”
We all could use a little practice in this area, right?
Let’s work together on defeating this virus, and then let’s work together on a future that’s great for us all.
We can do it.
Joshua Wilson is editor of The Pine Belt News and Signature Magazine.