Maybe we need to remember way back in order to get to the ever-present-future
What's the new normal?
It's often used amidst great change.
Think of when a loved one goes through a life-changing event. The "new normal" is what might need to happen as we adjust to stark, life-changing circumstances. We may need to adapt to a "new normal" after that car accident, the onset of chronic disease or just aging bones.
"The new normal" was popularized after the 2007-2008 economic crisis - it's a saying that communicates, essentially: things have changed, what is normal is now not so - the present reality, though what might've previously been unthinkable, is now the new normal. Adjust.
It carries with it a sort of tragic resignation, doesn't it?
But, I think this is because we don't have a real good grasp of change. Change is normal. Change is what makes the world go round. Change can be awesome.
As people on the Way, we aren't merely supposed to be ready for change, however. We're supposed to be agents of transformation. People who look for it, surf it, maybe even help catalyze it.
We, all too often, think of change as bad, or tragic or impossible to live with. How many times have you heard someone say they can't imagine going back to that job / restaurant / family gathering / church if that one thing changes?
I wonder if it is because we don't really understand the true wisdom of journeying with Jesus. Richard Rohr gets at this when he says that real transformation only comes through great love and great suffering.
"We must learn to be able to think and behave like Jesus, who is the archetypal human being. This becomes a journey of great love and great suffering. These are the two normal and primary paths of transformation into God, preceding all organized religion. This journey leads us to a universal love where we don’t love just those who love us. We must learn to participate in a larger love—divine love."
Real transformation understands the Jesus rhythms of life-death-resurrection. Real transformation grasps that our lives are a constant rhythm of body broken, blood poured out, as we remember at the communion table every week. Anything less isnot normal. It's straight up, inhuman!
We don't live in 1955 anymore. We live in 2015. And one day, Lord willing, we'll live in 2025. Things have changed. Things will continue to change.
We live in a world with instant fixes. Pills for that. Apps for this. Plans for more. We're so afraid of love, suffering (transformation, really!) that we amuse ourselves to death by coming up with false alternatives. Alternatives that never really work or last.
Instead, we are invited to participate in "the life that is truly life" (1 Timothy 6:19). This sort of life operates under the assumption that there are two normals that are not so new, but in fact, quite ancient. Hard earned wisdom and truth: love + suffering.
And if we understand the equation a bit, we'll be able to surf or help seed the change that leads to something magnificent.
Maybe we can help each other, along the way, navigate these not-so-new normals?