THE OLD NORMAL or THE PARADIGM SHIFT?
A “pandemic” (from the Greek ‘pan’ meaning ‘all’ and ‘demos’ meaning ‘people’) defines an epidemic happening simultaneously in many countries and continents. The novel coronavirus cluster was initially reported on December 31, 2019, to the WHO China Country Office and isolated on January 7, 2020. The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency on January 30, 2020. On March 11, 2020, WHO officials declared a global pandemic.
I remember hearing the announcement. “Declared a pandemic?” And my mind went immediately to my Dad’s stories of the Great ‘Flu pandemic when he was a 7 year old boy in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. He lost two beautiful young teachers – his Grade 1 teacher and his Sunday School Teacher. I learned the word “quarantine” early. Later, I saw quarantine signs on a few families’ doors during the tuberculosis and polio times. The term began as “trentino” during the mid-14th C. in Italy’s attack by the bubonic plague. It was later changed from 30 days (trentino) to 40 days (quarantine) because of all the Biblical references to “forty days.”
During those first few days of shock, my mind was seized by the absolute need for the safety of children and by the profound effect John Wyndham’s book, The Chrysalids, exerted on me when it was brand new and I was in Grade 9 or 10. We studied it at school. Were our grandchildren going to be the ones with the vague memories of the “Old People”? I could hear my youngest grandchild’s voice from a year ago saying, “Don’t worry, Grammy, move over – we can do it!” when we were discussing climate change about a year ago. And I hoped the planet felt comforted by the young generation.
I settled in to this new life. Because everything was altered – everything! From life and death to wealth and poverty to compassion and narcissism. My old, abiding love of science surged to the forefront. I would learn everything I could possibly learn. And all of this would be embedded and sustained in my soul because my deep faith could help me see around corners and into the darkness that some people crave. And I read about the Pacific whales being able fully to use their echolalia now and losing their stress hormones’ effects and how harmonious all marine life had begun to behave. Not only that, but animals began moving closer to us and birds and birdsongs we hadn’t seen or heard for years were back. Spring seemed so very different to me – somehow bristling with the electricity generated by an unknown element of nature. Colours were slow in coming and yet vibrant, especially the lemon yellow of the dwarf iris. The periwinkle blue of the tough and tiny scilla against the tender green was a fleet of knights breezing across a lawn of courage!
I could write so much about the effects of Covid19 on my life and my belief system – in fact I think I will! But as I came to terms with this invisible creature, sometimes during the night, I began to feel strongly that we will never return to what some call “the old normal.” I believe that we need to envision and make way for a paradigm shift. And we need to do that with the utmost humility and awe. I requires us to use structure and some experts. For “where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Prov. 29:18)
Study. Shift. Save.