Ask folks how they are doing these days and you will get a predictable answer: “Getting by…Surviving…Looking forward to normal again…Making the most of things.” But maybe “making the most of things” is missing the point. Maybe we are missing an opportunity to let these days make the most of us.
We have been quarantined, locked down, and sheltered in place long enough that the current crisis has now become a chronic condition. This is how it is, and if every restaurant, barber shop, tattoo parlor, and gymnasium opened tomorrow, there would be no miraculous return to the days before Covid-19.
There have been too many deaths, too much loss, too many setbacks, and too much interconnectedness in the world for us to experience an immediate bounce back. This is going to be a long, slow, gritty, uphill climb full of starts, stops, advances, and retreats. Not everyone is going back to work, but we all have work to do – if we are to let these days make the most of us.
What do I mean? Simply, we have an opportunity to become better people; more mature, more patient, more grounded. We can choose to have our priorities rearranged by what has happened. Sure, we can also pine for the “good old days,” but this is a waste. We can only embrace the actuality that is, allowing this time to “renew us day by day” as the Apostle Paul said about our inevitable troubles.
Yes, I know that losing your job doesn’t feel like renewal. Seeing your last dollar drain away isn’t the experience of transformation you hoped for. Watching your business flounder during this economic nosedive isn’t welcomed as the means of becoming a better person. And certainly, burying a loved one who was never able to get off the respirator is never an “opportunity.”
Yet, the longer we survive the more determined we can become. With every passing day there is a new chance to learn, to grow, to extend and receive grace. We have this unique season to become persons of substance and character, to be transformed into real human beings, and not thin-skinned, fragile, paper-mâché imitations.
I wish there was a different way. How I wish there were fewer fearful days and sleepless nights. I wish there was more security and less vulnerability. I wish my questions for God or the Universe or the Unknown were fewer and the certainties more. But neither a new world nor a new person is built by wishing. They are built by perseverance.
The emerging reality of the post-Coronavirus world is one that cannot be avoided, evaded, or escaped. There is no way out, around, or over it. The only way to reach what’s on the other side of this – whatever it might be – is through. By going through this, pressing on day by day, we do far more than “make the most of it.” We let it make the most of us.