By Mary Bridges, chaplain
Writing newsletter articles has always been a challenge for me. The biggest problem is there is always a deadline several weeks before they are to be printed. I do not do deadlines very well. My April article focused on Easter, a much-anticipated yearly event. Easter did happen, of course. However, it happened without large crowds of people in their new Easter garb and sanctuaries filled with flowers, friends and beautiful music. Reality found us connected to worship services through various electronic gadgets. The one constant between our plans and our reality is the message of Easter, which is always one of hope for a heartbroken world.
Today I am having trouble wrapping my mind around what is happening. It overwhelms me at times as I try to make some sense out of the changes to normal life. Almost 50 years ago, my father said he was pretty sure that when my generation was in charge of the world, we would not be able to survive something catastrophic. With all the confidence of my 27 years, I assured him we would step up as his generation did during the dust bowl and depression. I certainly never envisioned this kind of test.
What we once defined as normal no longer exists. But “normal” is about as concrete as the idea of “love.” The meaning constantly evolves to suit the momentary desires or needs of a single person, or in our case today the entire world. Our world is evolving to meet the needs of the entire planet at this time. What will our new normal look like in the coming months and years? The Chinese word for crisis implies both danger and opportunity. A new normal will happen, and the exciting thing is each person on the planet will help to create it through their personal choices. What an opportunity.
When you think of the color red, what comes to your mind? You probably think of things such as power, a stop sign, an apple or even maybe a drop of blood. What comes to mind when you think of the color blue? Do you think of the sky, water or feel calm? Before the novel coronavirus, these two colors also defined our states, our political parties and the separation between people with different views.
My first exposure to color was in first grade where we learned color theory with our crayons and paints by using the primary color wheel. We learned that mixing red and blue would give us purple or violet. This is only one piece of the puzzle, though. Today, printer ink cartridges are labeled RGB and CYMK. By combining additive colors and subtractive colors (made by combining primary colors) our printers, phones, and televisions are able to reproduce hues as close to nature as possible. What happens if you use the RGB color wheel model when you mix red and blue? You get magenta.
According to the website Empowered by Color, magenta indicates “universal harmony and emotional balance…. A combination of red and violet, magenta contains the passion, power and energy of red, restrained by the introspection and quiet energy of violet. Magenta influences our whole personal and spiritual development. It strengthens our intuition and psychic ability while assisting us to rise above the everyday dramas of our daily life to experience a greater level of awareness and knowledge.”
My prayer for our “new normal” is:
- That our country will turn magenta and our hearts and minds will come to understand that we can agree to disagree on many subjects but work together for the common good. That we will live out those words “the land of the free and the home of the brave” by respecting the beliefs of everyone.
- We will recognize the value of each person no matter what their job is and no matter where they live.
- We will realize that our children are our future and we will do whatever it takes to not only educate them but also enable them to live in safe homes and have adequate and nutritious food to help them develop sound bodies and minds.
- And that these words by Parker J. Palmer will live within our hearts and minds: “Community does not necessarily mean living face-to-face with others; rather, it means never losing the awareness that we are connected to each other.”
A quick update on my family: My father taught me how to be grateful and to treat every human being with kindness no matter what the color of their skin, their religion or beliefs, nationality or gender. My parents had 22 grandchildren, 49 great grandchildren, and who knows how many great-greats. Recently, my great-great nephew and his wife had a baby and named him Henry. It made me smile and my heart jumped for joy.
At times life is uncertain at best, but when we lean on our faith, we can come back from deepest and darkest of times to a life filled with light and joy. Call me crazy, but I believe that my new great-great-great nephew Henry is my father’s way of telling me that my generation and our world will make it through this life-changing pandemic and life will resume stronger and better than before. Never underestimate the power of hope, which is the message of Easter. And remember this:
Nothing should go back to normal. Normal was not working. If we go back to the way things were, we will have lost the lesson. May each one of us rise up and do better. —Unknown author