Normal

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“Normal is just a setting on your dryer.” Patsy Clairmont

As the shutdown begins to end, we hear the word “normal” bandied about in practically every newscast. People are setting timelines about when our society will return to “normal.” Others think we will be living with a “new normal.” Still others wonder if our lives will ever return to “normal.” Of course, no one really knows the answers to any of these questions. I certainly don’t, but I would like to share a few observations I made during this abnormal time.

When 9/11 happened, I remember driving to the office late in the morning. I had to stop at the bank before I went and as I walked in, a television was on. The people looked like they were in a daze. No one said anything, they just stared at the television as the scenes played out over and over again. I didn’t sense any fear just bewilderment.  When the Covid 19 crisis hit and we were all faced with a partial shutdown of the economy, the response was different. The first day I went to the grocery store, most of the people had a look of fear on their faces. They were not looking at one another but were furiously shopping trying to fill their carts with the necessities. Except for items that were fresh, i.e. milk, cheese, fruit and vegetables, the shelves were about empty. I don’t know about you, but I had never experienced this before.  To say the least, this whole scenario has been instructional for me to walk through.

We have all learned some things during this crisis and I hope we do not forget them when our lives return to “normal.” Here are a few of the topics we each have had to come to grips with:

1.  Control – We learned we really have no control over anything. It was a shock to most of us to have the government make decisions about our lives that we had to abide by, no questions asked. We have now seen this happen once and we should be aware that it could easily happen again. 

2. Security –  If we were counting on anything on a human scale to be our security, that rug was ripped right out from under us. We learned that our jobs, bank accounts, stocks, health, food supplies, and even our precious store of toilet paper would only take us so far. This crisis showed us there is no earthly thing we can hold onto for our security.

3. Mortality – We had to come to grips with the fact that we are mortal. If anyone of us believed differently, this virus showed us that we have been believing a lie. Yes, it was harder on the elderly and those with comorbidity factors, but many young healthy individuals succumbed to it also. 

These were not the only life topics we had to deal with. Each one of us can think of at least one area that we especially struggled with during this time. Personally, I found that having faith in God kept me from living in fear. Knowing that God was in control of my life was my security, and that He would be there for me should it be my turn to die, gave me a deep and abiding sense of peace. I know many of you experienced this also.

But if that wasn’t your experience and you haven’t settled some of these life issues yet, I encourage you to do so before the shutdown ends and life returns to “normal.” Please know that the Lord is waiting for you to turn to Him and ask Him for His help and guidance. He will gladly be there to take control of your life, be your security and take you to Himself should it be your turn to leave this earth.

Image by gerd altman. Courtesy of Pixabay.

The Lens of Regret

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Regrets…we all have them. They come in all sizes from big to small and every size in between. Sometimes, if we look at our lives through the Lens of Regret too long, we can become derailed. For the past several weeks, most of us have had a lot of time on our hands. When we have prolonged periods of time to think, our thoughts naturally return to the past. Some are finding that they are experiencing regret over some of their past choices. Some are even looking at the totality of their lives and are filled with regret over the trajectory their lives have taken.

What can we do if that is what we are experiencing right now? First, we must acknowledge our regrets. We can think about where we went wrong and why we took those wrong turns so many years ago. We must then move to the present and ask ourselves, “Is there anything I can do about those choices now?” If so, we have the time to possibly change the final result of those choices. For instance, if we haven’t spoken to a friend or relative for years, we can pick up the phone and restore communication. Or perhaps we stole something from a business we worked for or an acquaintance we knew. Now could be the right time to write out a check and send it to that person with an explanatory letter expressing our regret. 

You see, the thing about regrets is that they are not all carved in stone. Within some of them lies the opportunity to bring us freedom and a resolution from the burden we have been carrying. They might even hold the possibility of personal growth and maturity in a way we might not have considered possible before. 

But what if we are experiencing something deeper than regret, something that feels akin to sorrow? What if we are genuinely sorry for something we have done or for a series of choices we have made that have impacted our lives in a negative way? Unlikely as it may seem, it might be one of the most positive things we could feel at the moment. The Bible calls that emotion “godly sorrow.” It is a sorrow that has been given to us by the Lord to help us turn our lives around. The Bible puts it this way, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted;” 2 Corinthians 7:10. 

So what do we do with that sorrow? We bring it to the Lord, i.e. we confess it to Him. We tell Him about what we have done wrong and that we are sorry we have done it. We ask Him to forgive us those things (our sins) and we ask Him to have His Son, Jesus, come and live in our hearts and make us new people. That is what we call being “born again.” It is available to anyone at any time. God is always there to here our call. The good news is that He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross and be raised from the dead in order to bring us close to Him by making us part of His family.

Regret or godly sorrow? We each must decide. And if we can move in a positive direction, let’s make that move. We won’t regret it!

Image by gagnonm1993. Courtesy of Pixabay.