Last week my inbox filled with messages of people waiting for life to get back to normal. Events were being postponed and meetings were being put on hold in the expectation that the coronavirus was going to pass and life would at some point return to how it was before.
I understand completely the feeling of loss and desire to return to what is typical and routine. Maybe even more so now as we enter the third week of the UK lockdown and the beginning of the Easter school holidays. A long weekend on the beach or a barbecue with friends is exactly what we feel we need in the Prior house right now. It’s just, I don’t think that talking about going back to normal is going to help anyone. And, for those of us that lead others, giving the idea that this will all pass and things will carry on as they did before could end up creating many more problems.
I work in the christian global mission sector, where we expect to see things become very difficult for years to come. I assume that giving to charity will decline as supporters lose jobs and this will lead to organisations closing. Our ability to work in many countries will be limited too, whether that’s due to the cost of travel or tighter restrictions on international travel. Ultimately, the whole shape of the way we work is going to need to change.
I would like to suggest that there is a different way to approach the current situation that could lead us to a better future. Partly it involves changing our language so that we create the space to think and reflect. Being prepared to cancel events rather than postponing them. Instead of talking about things ‘going back to normal’, speak about discovering the ‘new normal’.
The other element is to start asking some good questions that will help us all navigate the transition to whatever is to come. Some of the questions I’m asking include:
- What have I stopped doing during the lockdown that I don’t want to start again afterwards?
- What good practices have I started that I want to keep going?
- What have I learnt about myself and my colleagues during this time?
- What is God opening my eyes to that I would have missed before?
Maybe you could suggest some other questions you are asking?