“My heart and my flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart.” (Psalm 72:26)

How are you managing during these months of pandemic? How are you doing?
In my work as a Counselor, everyone I meet with – each person – expresses some kind of response. It is not always about the virus itself. But the responses are triggered by these times.
My first client exclaims in exasperation: “What an ordeal it is to run into the grocery store! So many people are just ignoring those ‘one way’ signs in the aisles.” Next I meet with a retired man who anxiously tells me every detail of how he frets over each tiny decision. A young office worker is my third client of the day. Week after week she worriedly talks about how her supervisor seems unable to figure out how and when to open the office to the public again.
And me? I sit down with my laptop to pay some bills, and 45 minutes later I realize I’ve been staring blankly out the window. “What’s wrong with me?” I wonder. Then I remember, “oh yeah, I’m just like everyone else. We’re in the midst of a global crisis.”

How are you doing? How are you managing?
Tricia and I were visiting our kids on the west coast back at the beginning of March. As daily news stories reported the escalating gravity of the situation and the confusion about this thing called COVID 19, we made a hasty decision. She would remain for the time being and help with the grandchildren while their parents worked from home; I would scurry back to North Carolina before it got too risky to travel. Tricia and I never considered that many months later we would continue to be stuck on separate coasts! How do we assess when it will be safe to get on an airplane? Even if I were to visit for a week or two, dare I breathe my North Carolina germs on my family? Hmmm. And now we are mulling over what the holidays could be like.

How are you doing? How are you managing?
We wistfully long for the “old normal.” We want to get back to our favorite restaurant . . . our exercise class . . . our church sanctuary . . . some of us want to get back to our family! There’s nothing wrong with our desires for the old normal.
But if we are wise in this time, we will not go back unthinkingly to the old normal. If we are wise, we will pause and consider.
Back then, the old-normal-me would blithely remark about “trusting God.” “Sure, I trust God,” I’d tell myself, as I reach for my weekly planner to set up my life for myself, in my own way, on my own terms.

From today’s perspective I am not so casual. I have given up trying to plan what the coming days have in store. I have given up carefully scripting my future for success and fulfillment. Things never worked out exactly the way the old-normal-me wanted anyway.

If we are wise in this season of discontent, we will not choose to blindly go back to the old normal. Let us dream of a new time – a new time that embraces the spiritual wisdom we are learning now.
“Whom have I in heaven but you, O God; and there is nothing on earth I desire other than you.” Psalm 72:25

If we’re wise, we won’t go back. We’ll go forward.

Rev. Jonathan Kelley, LCMHC
Community Counseling Center

Are there things in your life you want to talk about? You will be heard at the Center! Call the Center at 910-452-7370. Visit at “Like” the Community Counseling Center on Facebook.