October 1, 2020

Pandemic Reflections #6

Is this the "new normal?" We've been hearing that phrase quite a bit lately. What does it mean - the new normal? Typically it refers to some kind of change that becomes a permanent fixture in our day-to-day lives. Given the continued increase in new covid cases (at least in some areas including right here in the cultural hub of the South Plains, good ole Lubbock, TX), does it mean that we will be wearing face masks indefinitely? Does it mean that all parties involved will have to quarantine for 14 days before meeting with extended family members and loved ones? What about traditional styles of greeting someone that include hugging, shaking hands, or even a small peck on the cheek? Does the "new normal" demand that all non-face-masked interactions must include six feet of social distancing?

Most of us human beings need some form of social contact. Those researchers who are currently studying the effects of social isolation due to the pandemic have seen increased cases of depression, anxiety, and despondency. Sometimes it feels almost impossible to find anything good that has come out of the "new normal." And yet, in spite of it all, there are still those stories that demonstrate the amazing resilience of the human spirit. Through our practice we have learned of some incredibly creative ways families have found to stay connected, in spite of some of the restrictions the pandemic has placed on them. We have heard stories of families sharing a traditional meal or family game night via Zoom. Some have found that social distancing in the backyard is better than not being in each other's presence at all. Couples have uncovered a newfound appreciation for each other as a result of getting to spend more time around their partner when their work responsibilities were moved to their home. One family decided to collectively paint a mural on their living room wall. Day by day, as the desire struck each of them, they would add to the evolving art piece, perhaps becoming a constant reminder of what is most important in challenging times - family connection.

We celebrate these creative souls and applaud their attempts to preserve some of the "old normal" while accommodating the need for some level of "new normal." May we all find ways to be creative and to stay positive and appreciative of our loved ones as we, too, make room for our own level of "new normal."