I think we would all agree that learning something new is hard. Watching my coworkers and church small groups learn how to meet through video has been frustratingly hilarious. Half the people are talking with their microphones muted, and the others should have their microphones muted while someone is screaming or emptying the dishwasher in the background. This chaos has become our new normal. I got to laughing at myself on one of these calls because I’m a pretty animated guy, and I still have no idea what to do with my hands when I talk behind a screen.
So far, this is me on every video conference call…
In addition to the cyber meetings, there has been another element to this new normal I never anticipated – grief. In one way or another, we are all in a state of mourning. It is expected that we will lose loved ones during this pandemic, which will be extremely difficult. However, we are also mourning our old way of life. Events we were anticipating have been canceled. Friends and community whisked away. Wedding dresses hanging in the closet, uncertain when they will be worn. Droves of people out of work and feeling lost and without purpose.
Those are things to grieve. Those are losses to mourn.
As days turn into weeks of isolation, I have realized that I’ve been doing this all wrong. I have been naturally focused on myself and not thinking of how my friends and family are mourning too. In the Gospels, I love how Jesus never missed the context of His surroundings. It was probably easier for Him since He was God; however, when our posture is selflessness, it is much easier to see the struggles of people around us.
Last week, I learned something new about one of my closest friends. Another friend was using part of his story as an example to encourage someone else. I was a bit taken aback that I had never heard of this struggle and the resulting breakthrough and achievement that followed. This made me stop and ask myself a couple of tough questions. How well do I listen to people? When I do listen, is it for their benefit, or my own? I will be chewing on those questions during the next couple of weeks or so. At least that will give me something to pass the time!
But, seriously, that’s what Jesus was all about.
He listened to those who were often ignored, wept with those in mourning, and had compassion on all He encountered, and that’s who He still is today. Jesus loves you and wants you to grab hold of your God-sized potential. He knows your pain. He understands your loss, and He desires for you to follow Him.
Navigating this new normal is going to take some intentionality. My mission during this uncertain season is to be: Mindful, Attentive, and Present. Yes, that will be my map guiding me through this unchartered territory.
We will get through this together.
In His service and at yours!