Inside out and topsy-turvy

woman wearing mask on subway train

Life in the time of Coronavirus is totally different from anything we ever imagined — even at the beginning of this very year.

Many things that we used to take for granted are no longer part of everyday life. And things we never imagined are.

Everything is in a state of flux. Constant change. Confusion.

Responding to change

We all must figure out how to deal with that discombobulation.

For some people that choice is to try to claw their way back to ‘normal’. As in the way things used to be, before Corona. Never mind that doing so often means astronomically raising the risk of catching or spreading the virus.

For many others, it’s knowing that things have changed, and must change. Just not at all sure what I can do. Or should do. Overwhelmed on a daily basis.

A prayer for Coronavirus times

Decades ago, theologian Reinhold Niebuhr penned a prayer that has become a staple of recovery programs. And let’s face it, we’re all in a recovery program now. Plus this is really a prayer about life.

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

Simple, while covering a lot of ground

This seemingly simple prayer covers some really important bases:

There are things that can be changed and things that can’t be changed. 

Ignoring things I can change will leave me stuck. Spending all my effort trying to change things I can’t, will leave me bruised and worn out.

So the real wisdom lies in knowing the difference and acting accordingly. Because changing things I can actually affect moves me (and others) forward.

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. After all, we best live life one day at a time. Yesterday is gone and done. Tomorrow hasn’t happened yet. Today is now and where we can take action.

There’s another part of the equation here too: This is about more than just me. As in, I can’t do it all by myself. Recognizing that fact is a very important first step. Fortunately, we can have help in navigating our way through this pandemic. 

Because Jesus showed the way for us, guiding us toward our Creator and a relationship with Him that lasts far beyond our limited years in this world.

Still feeling overwhelmed?

Time to practice triage. When I was in the military, I was the guy with the medic bag. Meaning that in a real battle situation, I’d be the first one to give aid to anyone wounded. 

But what if there were multiple wounded? Clearly one medic can’t take care of all of them at once. Must make choices.

First come, first served won’t cut it, because the mangled leg needs care more urgently than a superficial scrape. 

That’s where triage comes in. Before actually treating any patient, I would quickly determine the urgency of each person’s wounds. Then deal with the most critical injuries first. While somebody with less training might help those with less urgent needs.

Triage isn’t valuable only in emergency medical care. 

Now during Coronavirus times, we feel, are overwhelmed. So it’s important to know what to focus on. That should be things we actually can change. While letting go of things we can’t change.

Slouching towards a new normal

Even in the midst of this stormy sea of upheaval that the pandemic is, there are things each of us can do. To help ourselves. To help others. To see us all through. (For more tips, check out Potter is not selling — he’s buying)

This pandemic too will pass. Eventually.

There will be a new normal beyond the current flux. Not exactly like the old normal. But a new normal. And what you and I choose to do today helps shape that future.

Because in the midst of difficulty, also lies great opportunity.

As long as we know how to accept the things that can’t be changed, have the courage to change those that should be changed and the wisdom to know the difference. 

One day at a time.

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