These days new topics of conversation are a little hard to come by, especially if you enjoy over-analyzing like I do. With the start of 2021, even more than most years, we have breathed a collective sigh of relief to end the year that can’t be named. Now, most of the people I know have actually had a decent year, myself included, and have grown in some really important ways. But, universally, it’s been tough and we all are holding our breath to see what’s next.
So we’ve begun the topic, “When will life be back to normal?” which is especially hard to answer when I’m not sure what ‘normal’ means anymore. I, like most of you, have been forever changed by 2020, probably in ways that I don’t realize yet. I’m not saying it’s changed me more than some other years, but it’s been a big one.
So I’ve started a list: How I Will Know the Pandemic is Over. (aka- Things I Took For Granted) I think ‘life going back to normal’ is too vague, but I am curious when we will get to stop using the phrase, ‘We are in a pandemic!‘ to explain ourselves.
Here we go!
I Will Know the Pandemic is Over When:
- I can make plans without making sure they are cancelable, refundable, or contingent.
- I can remove the lamp by my desk (who’s sole purpose is to shine on me during zoom meetings).
- I can work out at my local Y (that has been closed since March) without a mask.
- I don’t have to quarantine to visit my family. (I’m sitting in day 5 of said quarantine right now.)
- I don’t have to screen my friends before hanging out with them. What precautions do you take? Who do you see in your daily life? Are you ok with the precautions I take?
- All the things are open and I can make plans to go there without researching if they still exist. Restaurants. Movie theaters. Broadway. Libraries. All the things.
- Hugs and cheek kisses at church. I know, not so common in the Menno world, but cheek kisses are all the rage at my church here in Brooklyn and I do miss being able to greet people properly.
- All my students attend in person, 5 days a week. Currently some of my students attend 5 days a week. I guess that’s progress…
- We don’t have to social distance or wear masks at church. Let’s just say, I’m looking forward to singing, uninhibited, in a crowd. (Like heaven is, you know.)
- I go to places to meet new people. It feels like a long time since I made a new friend.
- WE CAN TRAVEL, OUT OF THE COUNTRY! I’m a big fan of travel returning some day. It’s not too soon to start planning for 2022, right?
- We say ‘remember when…’ and remind ourselves to be grateful for all the things on this list.
When I look back at 2020 I marvel at the history we’ve experienced as a city. Shutdowns, sirens, semi trailer morgues!, curfew, riots, cheering in the streets. New York is fundamentally different and we as a people cannot live outside of that change. It affects us too.
But if I have learned anything in the past year it is that God is in control and He is faithful.
So here’s to 2021. To the hope that this pandemic will end. But more assuredly, here’s to faith that God is big enough for whatever is coming next.