05/21/2020 The Real Apocalypse – by Pastor Katie

Welcome to the apocalypse. It’s the end of the world as we know it…and I feel fine. 

Thankfully, my family and I continue to be in good health, aside from those pesky spring allergies. I feel fine, physically. My mental, social, and spiritual wellbeing are different than before this all started. I’m a strong extrovert, so I miss social interaction, while also feeling more connected to my family than I have in a long time. I’m more rested than I was before. In a conversation with someone they said they’ve realized how sleep deprived they were for so long. I feel fine. 

But the world, as I knew it before, has ended. This is a time of apocalypse. Now, before you jump to correct me, just bear with me and breathe. 

I’m not saying we shouldn’t “open up” the city, state and country. That is a must. We need our businesses, restaurants, and salons (I see you corona long hair crew!) to fully open their doors. We need our kids and teachers to get back into the brick and mortar classrooms where they can connect in person, be challenged at their appropriate levels, and get the help they need to grow and thrive. We have to congregate as churches, as communities, as friends and families, we need hugs, laughter and in person connections. 

It will take time, baby steps, safe and steady steps to ensure we don’t overwhelm the healthcare system.  When we finally return to open doors, hugs, gathered worship, and full contact relationships all that brings us joy and life will fill our hearts once again. 

But, there are things that have changed, many things have been turned upside down. 

Have you ever knocked a trinket off of your desk or a bookshelf, and when you pick it up you look at it for the first time in a long time, you really see it, rather than glaze over it? There are details you’ve haven’t seen in ages, because they were lost in the rush of daily life. 

This is that moment. 

As we begin to think about turning ourselves right side up and regaining a semblance of life as we knew it, we have the chance to really examine what we previous took as given, as ‘normal’, as ‘expectation’ in the life and schedules we had created. 

The more people I talk to, especially working parents with children, the more it seems like this time has revealed that a lot was not working for us before, we just thought it was because everyone else was doing it. Apocalypse. 

Apocalypse or αποκάλυψις in Greek, means an uncovering, unveiling, revealing, or revelation. It doesn’t, it in original context, mean the end of the world, the rapture, Armageddon or any of those, more recent and more flashy, connotations. 

This is a time of apocalypse, the unveiling, revealing, revelation-bringing kind, not the world-ending kind. Revelation means the making known of something that was previously secret or unknown.

Here is what I didn’t realize before: normal wasn’t working.  The veil has been pulled back, maybe ‘normal’ isn’t what we want after all.

A few years ago I was reconnecting with a mentor from college, her kids were already in elementary school and I couldn’t believe it. As a new mom, I asked if time really goes as fast as they say. She responded that they really limited the activities and sports their kids were in, most nights of the week they were all home together. 

“We’re not missing their growing up, we’re enjoying every minute of it and not scheduling anything,” she said. This sounded like some hippy-dippy thing from another time, aren’t families supposed to be running kids from school to sports to extracurricular activities? 

What their family, in deep wisdom, had realized years ago, it has taken a global pandemic and Stay at Home Executive Orders for many families to realize. “Normal” was over-scheduled, sleep-deprived, and go-go-go. This new world we’ve been thrust into is family dinners, family games and movies, long leisurely walks, picnics in the backyard, and lots of time to connect. 

Our family has loved this time to connect, this time to just be together. We miss friends and extended family, we miss being with other people. But, we’re talking seriously about how we embrace the lessons of this time of pausing to really evaluate how we want to move forward in our family life. 

I’ve often felt a lot of guilt that I’m gone one or two nights a week; guilt that our three year old isn’t in gymnastics, swimming and music—I know he’d love them all. The Mom Guilt is plentiful. The conversation in our household has changed, we’re now asking about how we want to be together moving forward, rather than asking how we want to schedule activities apart from one another. 

This will look different for each household and family; it will depend, on the age of your kids, what they love to do, how well everyone functions together and other factors. 

This time has not been all rainbows, unicorns, and butterflies—that is simply untrue, there has been great heartbreak, deep grief over lost plans, and challenging family dynamics stemming from too much togetherness. 

And, this time has given me space to breathe, to rest, to reconsider what I had considered normal. It’s given me time to reevaluate the ways I felt guilt over falling short of ‘normal.’ 

Covid-19 has been an apocalypse, an unveiling, of what was considered normal, and has given us pause and space to think about how we want to live and what we want to prioritize moving forward. 

The world as I knew it ended weeks ago. The façade of normalizing over-scheduling, sleep-deprivation and a go-go-go lifestyle has been revealed—apocalypse in the truest sense—as unsustainable and unmatched to the deep family connection we’ve found. 

It’s the end of the world as we know it…and I feel fine. 

What questions are you asking? What have you learned in this time? What do you want to bring into the new future? 

Pastor Katie

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