We’ve all heard the expression, “It’s hard to remember that your objective was to drain the swamp when you are waist-deep in alligators.”
We have been battering alligators and hunkered down in crisis mode for way too long.
According to Wikipedia, John F. Kennedy, our 35th president, incorrectly stated in a campaign that the Chinese symbol for “crisis” (危機)is made up of two words: “danger” and “opportunity”. (As it turns out, the two words are better represented by “danger” and “changepoint” although Google’s translation page breaks them down to “danger” and “machine”.)
It appears that finally, after way too long, the sun is timidly peeking its healing rays over the horizon and a new world is rising.
Although a long road lies yet ahead, we are gradually evolving into this new era, wearily struggling to heal the bruises and scars brought upon us by too many crises in too short of a time.
Whatever the etymology of “crisis,” it is indeed a period of introspection and an opening to shake things up; in essence, to design a new normal.
After all, if we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always be where we’ve always been. Speaking for you, me, and the guy down the street, I am convinced none of us want to re-experience another 2020.
On social media, a meme is making the rounds. It shows a photo of a handwritten note; on it is penned, “Nothing should go back to normal. Normal wasn’t working. If we go back to the way things were, we will have lost the lesson. May we rise up and do better.”
In reply to my posting of the meme, a friend commented, “…sounds like you didn’t like your life… I sure in the hell want mine back!” Although well-intentioned I’m sure, that misses the bigger point.
Firstly, we’re never returning to “normal,” however that’s defined.
What we experienced last year – and continue to do so — is a tectonic plate paradigm shift in how we live. The culture of 2025 will be as different from 2015 as 2015 is from 1965. Whether that’s “good” or “bad” or simply “is” can be debated but the profound influences that a pandemic, economic crash, urban turmoil, and the most divisive election and aftermath in the last 100 years cannot be swept under the rug. Those influences are now in our DNA, never to leave us.
Yes, I miss being in plays, traveling, meeting friends at coffee shops, going to services with my congregation on Sundays, eating at restaurants, and not having to mask up or avoid others when I walk down the street. And Lord almighty, do I miss hugs. Of course, I crave those and want them back.
But as stated, disasters bring opportunities and we have to admit that the old system, whatever that was, was not working on lots of levels. After all, if it was, we wouldn’t be where we are now.
So, to that end, in the belief that we each contribute to the future by what we each envision, I’m posting my wish-list of a future “new normal.” [Read more…]