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What Is Normal?

by | Nov 2, 2020 | Acceptance, Direction, Trials

A few days ago, I entered the elevator in my building with another resident. Only two people are allowed at a time so that distancing can be maintained.

This lady and her husband moved in about the same time as I did, and we became friends. Her husband died a few months later, but the friendship has remained.

We were both wearing masks, but Norma wistfully asked when I thought that things would return to normal.

I asked her, “What is normal?”

I assumed that she might say, “When we can remove our masks, share meals, give one another a hug, or at least greet one another with a friendly handshake.”

Surprisingly, she said she thought that it would be “normal” when more than two would be allowed to occupy the elevator.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, several residents would normally be on the elevator, and it was always a happy time to share information.

Our nine-story building has two relatively small elevators. One of my granddaughters, who lives in a much higher building, told me that their elevators are quite large, but only five were allowed on at a time — one in the centre and one in each of the four corners, so that physical distancing can be maintained.

It made me recall a song by Ina Mae Duley Ogdon:

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar,
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;
Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,
Brighten the corner where you are.

As I thought more about Norma’s question, I researched dictionary definitions of “normal”. One is “conforming to a standard”.

With the current pandemic affecting so many aspects of our life, I realized that it is more important than ever that each of us has a solid standard by which our actions are guided.

The Bible is full of standard-setting directions, but one of my favourites is the one stated by Micah centuries ago:

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8 NIV)

Regardless of how upsetting that we may find the current situation, God’s directions given through Micah give a standard to which we would do well to conform.

Prayer: Dear God, thank You for the directions that You give through the Bible. Help us to conform to the standards that You have set out. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Vincent Walter
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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