Have you contributed to the change you wanted to see in our world post-pandemic? The reality is the pandemic really isn’t over yet, people are still contracting Covid-19, the variants and still dying. In my State the Covid-19 inpatient numbers in hospitals has increased 100% in the past two weeks and nearly 100% of them are unvaccinated individuals. To those who are sick in hospitals and who chose to believe Covid-19 was not real, or the vaccine was poison – a quick painless needle in the arm would’ve been an easier path. I do not apologize for not being compassionate for these individuals, the suffering could have been easily avoided.
Now that the country is opening back up, people are struggling to find peace, navigate through political tensions and conflicts, find a job, or earn a sustainable living. Some people are struggling to keep a roof overhead and afford food to eat. In the light of the magnitude of these difficulties that exist around us and even within us, we find ourselves floundering to discover practical, effective solutions. The question about effecting change is how can something so large be helped by someone as small and seemingly insignificant as me?
Without seeming like a cheerleader, we are never helpless or without hope. We cannot fall victim to the strife around us. We must keep ourselves refreshed and focused so that even in small ways, we become part of the solution and change and not the problem. Many families chose to become caregivers to elderly relatives in a time when their children also needed as much or their time and attention. We lived in a world dictated by masks, social distancing and basically remaining in place. In some instances, we are going back to wearing masks. Otherwise, we move about freely even though signs warn those who are not vaccinated to continue wearing masks – they don’t. Our minds tell us if we are vaccinated, we’re out of danger, but the stark reality is that we are not out of danger. It is imperative to be mindful of this fact if you are caring for a loved one. It is imperative that you protect yourself and your loved ones.
Our world indeed looks different today than in 2019 before the pandemic was declared. The reality of returning to normal is that prices of every commodity is almost out of reach of the average consumer. When the doors reopened, demand skyrocketed, and the supply chain had not been replenished. People are hesitant to return to work and employers cannot fill vacant jobs. Many people are opting to secure jobs that permit working remotely at home and not in the public view. During the pandemic, many businesses were forced to close their doors with food, hospitality, or entertainment venues being the hardest hit. Yet government programs have provided seed money making it possible for people to open small businesses. Many of the most beloved retailers closed their doors in 2020 and going to a mall makes one wonder who will close next. Frankly with the convenience of online shopping one wonders if brick and mortar malls will survive at all. Businesses which offered take-out or curb service during 2020 continue to thrive such as neighborhood restaurants and delis. Home food delivery services thrived and continue to thrive as convenience is king. Home improvement businesses also thrived as did big box retailers as well as Target and Wal-Mart.
With the onset of summer months airports filled up and people hurried to get on a plane and go on vacation. Pandemic, what pandemic? Then the reports of violence on airplanes of people who refused to wear masks should make us realize we are far from over the effects of the pandemic. People have become more violent, less resilient, less compassionate, and less tolerant of our differences. Churches are struggling to get people back in the pews. Many young people don’t believe in a higher power, or organized religion. It begs the question, where is our God of Mercy?
The new normal is vastly different, that is the reality we must all face. The happy and welcome gatherings of summer, drives to the beach or mountains will soon be overtaken by cooler weather. We will once again be ushered back indoors. Even caregivers may have gotten a brief respite. But everyone will soon have to forge a path to a new normal with new rules.
The answer to how we handle the new normal lies within each of us. It is our world to change, one person at a time. It is my hope that the hate, distrust, lies and misinformation that have become part of our daily lives will cease. I am filled with faith and hope. As long as we have hope we have energy and direction to map out a new normal. Let’s look to a new normal with hope for a better world for all of us.