Going Back To Normal (And Everyone’s Exhausted)

Restrictions are lifting in Ireland, and we’re going back to something like normal. We’re picking up the threads of life that were untouched for so long and sliding back into routines we used to think were immutable until they weren’t. It’s good. We’ve been waiting for this, looking forward to this, and now it’s happening. 

And now we’re tired. I keep hearing it from all kinds of people, in all kinds of ways, and feeling it, too: The old threads of life that were so familiar feel funny in our hands now, and heavier than we remembered. The jobs we used to do and schedules we used to keep feel harder, and somewhat foreign, like running through water. Yes, we’re all happy about life returning to familiar forms. But we’re also exhausted, and it’s showing. 

No surprise there. We just spent a year and a half watching the whole world fall apart, carrying piles of shape-shifting burdens that kept readjusting themselves and throwing everything off balance all over again. We kept on hoping for a change, hoping for things to stabilise soon, wishing we could just go back to the normal we had before. With all of that going on, it was easy to forget that on this planet, “normal” is always a mix of good and wonderful and surprisingly painful. If the sum of our hopes is just “normal”, we’re in for some real disappointments. Maybe that’s one of the reasons we’re so tired. We pushed through and waited so long for normal to return, and now we’re getting there and it’s still hard and what else can we wait for? 

The old threads of life haven’t changed much. The jobs, the schedules, the demands, the disappointments: this is what “normal” looks like. It’s not the threads that changed—it’s us. We can go back to the way things were, but we can’t go back as the same people. We’re tired, and disappointed. Tired of living under these burdens. Disappointed that normal hasn’t lifted them. Tired of squinting our eyes, straining for glimmers of hope that keep moving. 

We need that hope. We need the strength to keep going. We always did, but now we feel it more. Our need for these things is normal, though, and it comes as no surprise to the God who made us to draw life and strength and hope and joy and everything from the the one and only never-ending source: himself. Are you tired? If you are, then Jesus’ invitation is especially for you:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28-29

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