By Amy McCollom
Do we really want to go back to normal; to the way things were before the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic happened? Let us think for a minute as if it were January still. A lot of Americans are kind of sloppy and rushed in the area of hand-washing if we are to be honest with ourselves. We don’t always keep our homes and workspaces as clean and germ-free as they should be either. We have gotten lax about manners and giving people personal space. We complain about having to go to social events and being forced to spend time with family members.
We spend too much money and time eating out, going to sporting events and movies, and less quality time at home with our families. Some of us even treat our kids as if they are a novelty pet; pampering them, showing them off to our friends and on Facebook, then ignoring them when they don’t fit into our lifestyle like an accessory. Most of us don’t have a clue what our kids are learning in school right now.
Some of us go to church. Although 40 percent of Americans consider themselves to be very religious, only about 23 percent go to church at least once a week (According to Statista.com). Americans appear to be more die-hard sports fans than die-hard God fans. That is truly a sad and embarrassing realization.
Suddenly people start getting sick and start dying and the powers that be decide what happens next. The words pandemic, Coronavirus, shelter in place, flatten the curve, and new normal become part of our everyday vocabulary. A thousand times a day we hear them, over and over, like a Gregorian chant until the rhythm of the words roll through our minds like an earworm song.
Everything stops and our lives slow to a creeping crawl. No school, or restaurants, or jobs. People holed up in their homes, afraid and angry, and unsure of who to trust. Some argue with each other, the media and it’s talking heads never stop to take a breath, reading the preprogrammed format like good stewards for ‘The Company.’ The nation became divided about who to believe. Those who questioned were scrutinized, those who didn’t question were labelled weak-minded sheep. Darned if you do and darned if you don’t. Was the pandemic hype or horror? The truth may not be known for several years, at least until the fog clears from the muddied waters of the media and politics.
Mask wearers, non-mask wearers, those who just stay home. The pandemic has certainly split us up by what we believe personally and by the company we keep. Instead of all being in this together like the commercials chant, we have become separate in more ways than we can count.
Social media has given us a loud voice, platform, and boldness to stand up and shout our beliefs. From the safety of our living rooms and dens we can call each other names and insult each other’s intelligence and band together with like-thinkers and actually all fall in the ditch together, because the blind lead the blind. Or we can bind together in prayer on touching any one thing, and it shall be done in the name of Jesus. We choose how we use social media. Be careful who you follow. Truth. Fake news. Who knows?
And now racism and violence is touching all of America, on top of all that we have suffered through with the pandemic. I will be the first one to tell you that racism of any kind infuriates me. I recognize it, and have fought against it for decades. I am the mother of three black children, and I have stood up against individuals, groups, teachers, coaches, and anyone else who has ever slighted my children in any way, shape, or form because of their race. I have felt the stares, heard the horrible names, looked into the eyes of ignorant accusers, and wiped hot tears off of little faces. I have felt every wound those hurtful remarks and acts have left on the inside of my children. I bear them too.
But for every tear and scar, there were 100 smiles and 1,000 times of laughter. Friends came and stood by their sides, and had their backs, and my children learned to be strong individuals, and that not all people were good, but not all people were bad either. There are always more good people than bad people. So hold your head up, and just keep on being a good person.
We need a normal back; but we need a better normal. We need more than 40 percent of Americans to be very religious, and by that, I mean true followers of Christ. They should love God, and love people. By doing those two things, they will fulfill the ten commandments, for if they love God they will keep His commandments. Love wins over hate. Loving people is the only way to change them from an enemy to a friend. We are to love all people. There is no room for racism in love.
You certainly do not know what you’ve got until it is gone. I missed a lot of things, as I know you did too. But I also learned a lot of things to make the rest of my life better than it was before. I know not to take things for granted any more too. I also know what I need to do.
Clean better. Love more. Mind my manners. Read the Bible more. Do more. Shut off the T.V. Praise the Lord louder. Pray harder. Work harder. Plan smarter. Listen better. Hug my kids more. Enjoy my front porch. Listen to the birds. Witness more. Share more. Write more. Trust the Lord all the more. Join me?