What normal do you want to go back to? Do you really want to return to the world as it was two months ago? What does this give us an opportunity to change? What is happening now that couldn’t have happened otherwise?
My pastor pitched these questions to our congregation as he laid out the final points of his COVID Easter sermon. The first Easter morning, he said, changed everything. Heaven suddenly became accessible to all people from every nation, and death was permanently vanquished. This Easter (certainly the first of its kind to most of our memories) has weight, too. What about this season will permanently change our lives? And what don’t we want to return to?
Before COVID, my life was fairly average. Work, social activities, rest. I tried to balance my priorities as well as I could, dedicating time to each and trying to be fully present for all. There were a few unexpected surprises: the sudden need to find a new home in two months, losing a valued friend and coworker to a different calling, the mounting responsibilities of being friend, photographer, daughter, volunteer, sister, public relations specialist, and (very nearly) girlfriend. As spring accelerated into summer, I was setting myself up for a blurry, fast-paced and full few months.
And then, one sunny March morning, my plans evaporated with the frost.
I packed up my laptop, monitor and keyboard. Moved an extra table into an extra bedroom. Shopped for more items than I knew I’d need for one week. Scrubbed down knobs and counters a little more frequently. The people I saw on a daily basis vanished along with my packed lunches and nice blouses and (on most mornings) exercise routines. It was surreal and sudden.
But you know what?
I’ve called friends I wouldn’t have “had the time” to call, otherwise. I’ve pulled out my camera more frequently. I spent four days working from my parents’ house and sharing meals and walks with them. I’ve cleaned out that “meaning to get to for months” shelf in my closest. I’ve slept better. I’m making made more intentional meals. I’m praying with friends and coworkers much more frequently. I’ve invested a little money in personal interests, like writing and cooking.
Could all of these things have happened anyway, even if COVID hadn’t demolished “normal” life? Sure. The activities I’ve done since the start of the Stay At Home Order, though, are the priorities that have sifted to the top of my quarantine-influenced to-do list. Most days still tend to be full, but “full” just looks very different than it used to.
That’s not to say that during COVID life is somehow better than pre COVID life. The shift in priorities is simply fascinating. There are several aspects of my current lifestyle that I’d like to hold onto after all this is over… and hopefully I will.
Here’s a glimpse into our quarantine…