NOTE: This piece was originally written for the Men In Action e-newsletter in May of 2020.
“Calamity is a great teacher,” observed Aisha Ahmad recently. Her response to the COVID-19 pandemic is true, but only if we are willing to learn the lessons available to us.
God uses pain to grab our attention. “It is,” as C. S. Lewis wrote, “His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
One of God’s cautionary signposts came when I asked our four children to list the lessons they have learned through this Coronavirus experience. My 5th grade daughter Emma wrote, “I never realized how busy we were before.”
One day I was checking Outlook to plan for coming events, and suddenly, my schedule was forcibly purged, where seemingly immovable obligations were thrust into the abyss of an unknown future. To lose control is never easy.
As I reevaluate my “life before COVID,” I have wrestled with God: “What are You trying to teach me?” His answer for me: “Pace yourself, John…”
For the first time in forever, I have had more time. Time to slow down…and just stop. Time to rest. Time to read. Time to be present. Time with the people who matter most. Time with the Author and Sustainer of time itself.
Despite all of the pain, loss, and heartache we’ve experienced in this surreal season, it has also become an unexpected gift. God has offered a collective reset for me.
God’s gifts of time and balance have always been there. But I was too busy to receive them before.
So, I don’t want to go back to normal. I want to embrace the new normal that is as old as God’s original design for humanity.
May this great disruption become a great reset, a restorative reordering of the way things ought to be. The way the Grand Designer intended them to be all along.