Living through a pandemic is a defining experience. For some of us, our lives have been permanently changed by sickness and death of loved ones. Others have suffered extreme financial setbacks that will change their lives moving forward. And for others, the consequences haven’t been so tragic or severe, but nonetheless, we have been changed.
Change is hard. It is painful. It is a process that stretches us sometimes to the point where we think we may break. In the Diocese of Pueblo, we have been likening this experience to the migration of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. If you recall, it wasn’t all that simple or that easy. Being rescued didn’t result in instant happiness. The people wandered for 40 years in the desert to get from point A to point B. Wandering in a desert isn’t fun, I imagine. Perhaps we can appreciate that here in Colorado more than most. In the desert, many of the people died, including Moses. They had limited food and water. They had to travel with children and animals, carrying on the generations.
We have been crossing a great desert. It is daunting and we must do it together. We can sense the Promised Land before us now, but what will it be? The future is unknown. But, let’s look at what we left behind. Look at what we saw as normal. Do we even want the old normal anymore? Do we want to let go of the gifts and blessings this trial has brought us? Learning to slow down; caring for the community; taking more time for family; finding quiet time for ourselves; finding more time for prayer; finding time for Jesus.
Remember, the people of Israel complained when things got hard and wanted to go back! Back to slavery! They did not need to fear. They were not alone. The Lord led them. He provided water, manna, and quail. Look back over the last few months. Can you find the times the Lord sent manna when you needed it?
Some people are clamoring to go back to “normal”. There is no going back. There is only moving forward. It is up to you to decide what will be your “new normal”. Will it be a life in the Promised Land? A life led by God? A life of focusing on what matters, with eyes on Heaven? Will you leave behind the attachments and sins that enslaved you?
Let us follow Jesus as He calls us to the Promised Land of His embrace and share His love with those that grieve, those that hurt, those that are frightened and unsure. Through the works of mercy, we will help bring them to the Promised Land of a loving relationship with Jesus and we will never go back. This is our new normal.