BY REV. CORY L. KEMP |
Are you hoping to get back to normal, the way your life used to be before the pandemic became our collective lifestyle?
Personally, I am hoping we don’t go back to normal for a few reasons.
My first thought is that going back to any time before the present, except in one’s memory, isn’t possible. While our world has suffered great loss since March of last year, we have also lived, learned and loved a lot. Would going back to normal disavow all of that? Would you be willing to give up these last twenty-one months of your life to return to your perception of your life in February of last year?
And normal isn’t an actual place. Normal isn’t a destination. But it is a way to talk about, in the absolute most general way, what seems familiar and unobtainable. Being wistful for what doesn’t exist isn’t wrong; but it does take away from the tangible reality in which you are living right now. Are you willing to sacrifice the life you can live right now to the dimming idea of life being the way you remember?
In short, what do you want for the rest of your life? Do you want to focus on the hope of returning to what was? Or do you want to stand in the present moment and live the life you’ve been given?
Perhaps another way to talk about our future together is to be honest with ourselves about what we are missing most, translate that into things we can do and enjoy, then just start doing them.
What can you get out and do that you weren’t able to a year ago because of the pandemic? Are you able to go out to eat, travel, attend a concert or a play? Do you like to takes walks through your neighborhood, greeting people out working in their gardens? Have you been able to attend study groups or worship in the pews of your church?
Have you remembered to enjoy yourself every time you reclaimed another piece of your life, savoring the richness and pleasure of the moment?
Even in exile, people find ways to keep living, keep being faithful and loving their God. That’s an important thing to remember when this pandemic starts feeling like an exile that will never end.
But it will end. Not yet, but it will.
My heart tells me that we are simply weary of this steep learning curve, having to negotiate every new curve like a student driver in rush hour traffic. We are craving community, the kind that feels close, warm, inviting and so powerfully supportive we took it for granted.
We aren’t taking it for granted anymore. That awareness alone may be our best, most faithful growing edge.
My heart also tells me we need to remember that God is not a virtual reality, but very much alive, well and tangibly present. The great psychologist, Karl Jung, had these words carved into the door-frame of his home: Bidden or not bidden God is present. We are longing, yearning for God who is our life, our community, our being, our tangible reality, here and now. Living your life right now is the best way to feel like yourself again, to honor and enjoy God, to move forward into the more that God is for you.
About the author
The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom, and joy.