In various conversations I have had recently, I have begun to hear a common theme among them start to emerge. “What is the “New Normal” going to be like?” What I think people are trying to say is, “What are the new changes in life that we can expect to remain the same?” It seems to me that many people want to have some sort of expectation of what will happen and hope that those expectations will not change.
As I consider this, I see a bigger reality coming into being. To start, I believe all people, deep down, have a desire for things that are unchanging. Things that are transcendent. Things that are bigger than themselves that, without a doubt, will remain constant. Some such things, like the never changing rising and setting of the sun, are essential to life itself. Any unexpected changing of the sun’s interaction to the earth would mean the end of life on earth as we know it.
Other less tangible things, like the love freely given between a husband, a wife, a father, a mother, a child, are also hoped for as constantly dependable. In fact, as I consider all the things that are necessary for life to continue; the air we breathe, gravity, the rain, sun and moon, all of these things we can expect to remain the same.
It is good to hope for all of these to remain the same. Yet, as we see the essentials of life predictably dependable, we tend to also desire the temporal and unessential things to do the same.
In August 2018, when my family set out on our 10 month road trip, I did everything in my power to grab hold of the “new normal” of our ever-changing lives. I would make excel spreadsheets to predict the future of the days ahead: how many miles to our next stop, how long would it take to get there, how many days we would be staying there, names of the camp sites we would be staying at, so on and so forth. I could detail out the future for about a month at a time, until the variables became too great and I had to just wait for a few weeks, update the predictions with what actually happened, then I could begin predicting again. This went on for sometime during the first half of our trip. But, somewhere during the second half of our trip, I suddenly realized I was no longer living in a sort of “future expectation”. Something had somehow, almost without me knowing, changed inside me.
It has been one of the greatest lessons I have ever learned in my life- Being able to live life in the moment. No longer was I hoping or expecting things to align themselves in a particular sort of way; I could simply live and be. Not only is this much less work (I still like to use Excel for many other things though) but it is much more fun. In fact, I believe it is because I learned that lesson last year, that we have been able to, this year, see new fruits in our life because of it.
This year, our “New Normal” is whatever comes our way. This week our “New Normal” included:
Holding our neighbor’s new puppies (Caleb prefers chickens over puppies):
Playing with our other neighbor’s dog (unplanned father of the puppies):
Building planter boxes (flats) at the wood shop:
Filling flats with seed transplants:
Planting garden beds:
Searching for (plant eating) snails:
Constructing a wheel barrow out of scrap wood:
Mowing the lawn (thank you, Grampy, for teaching Caleb how to drive):
Building a garden fence:
Building a compost pile:
Fun in the sun water fight:
Baking banana bread:
Cooking Easter breakfast and Easter dinner:
If I had not been able to learn to live life in the moment last year, I am afraid I may not be blogging this post right now. I may very well be sitting at home in Seattle, hoping and waiting for the “New Normal” to show itself to me so that I might take hold of it and feel its illusionary seduction of security. I thank God that we are, instead, living in the now and enjoying each unanticipated moment as it reveals itself to us. Love you all and Happy Easter.