The Challenges of a New Normal

Last year, 2020, was an historic year for all of us with challenges beyond our expectations.  So many people have lost jobs, homes, property.  We’ve relied on big box stores and Amazon for our necessities (though I don’t know why the same safety rules shouldn’t apply to small businesses). Activities have been curtailed, leaving people SIP, home schooling their children, waiting and wondering when life would return to normal.  Even so, the year held unexpected blessings as well.  For many, SIP meant growing closer as a family.  It meant finding ways to retain a sense of community.  We live-streamed church services, got together with friends and family on ZOOM, wrote emails, made phone calls, passed along prayer requests.  Where there is a will there is a way, so they say — and we found ways to move forward.

For me and Rick, the end of the year was another unexpected challenge.  On December 12, Rick was taken by ambulance to Kaiser Hospital because of a massive migraine that was not going away after two days.  It continued and doctors put him through a battery of tests; CT Scan, MRI, blood tests.  Diagnosis: migraine with Parkinson’s flare up.  He was released with a walker and a new list of medications.  On December 21, our 51st anniversary, Rick’s pulse rate dropped to 30 and his blood pressure was all over the place, all of which put him back in another ambulance and back in the hospital.  More tests, and this time they added a spinal tap that revealed the problem: aseptic meningitis.

By the grace of God, we had Hubby/Daddy/Papa home for Christmas Eve.  He arrived at the same moment as the hospital bed.  We have had 24/7 in-home care since.  Rick is working hard to regain his strength. Meningitis exacerbated his Parkinson’s. We now have a caregiver here during the day only, evening and nighttime care my privilege.  I handle Rick’s medications, appointments, conversations with cardiologist, neurologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, etc.  It’s been a learning experience, and each day is different.  Rick and I both thank God he is home.

The saying, “Life changes in a minute”, is so true.  We may not be able to attend the premier of “Redeeming Love” when it is released to theaters (hopefully spring of this new year), but we thank God we were able to be on set, meet the crew and cast, and be with those who have been passionate about this project from beginning.  We may not be able to travel the world now, but we have memory boxes and can enjoy the many trips we were able to take all over again while sitting in our family room.

My word for 2021 is JOY.  “…the joy of the Lord is my strength.”  (Nehemiah 8:10)  “The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy…”  (Psalm 28:7) “..when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy…”  (James 1:2-4)

Has there ever been a “normal”?  Every year is different.  Every year holds new challenges.  And that is good. Trials stretch our faith, increase our endurance. If everything remained the same, we’d never grow.  I intend to embrace and give thanks for the new normal each morning.  I intend to count every blessing and give thanks.  Life is packed with surprises, isn’t it?  There is one steady assurance:  God is good all the time.