I am writing this article on the Easter weekend, when Christians remember that Jesus was executed on a cross, and then that He came back from the dead. That’s the biggest restart in history.
There are other ways to start over, and the biggest cause that I know is growing older, and reaching retirement age. Life starts over, even when we don’t want change. There’s a line in an old song “I don’t remember growing older.” About the time I reached retirement age, the COVID pandemic arrived. At the time, I was happy to keep working and my employer wanted us to move to a smaller city, where houses are not expensive. That made me happy, and I found a nice little house with a small cost, and I was about to make an offer. Then COVID hit.
Who wanted the COVID virus?
I remember a day when I went to work, at a client site, and people looked at me like I was crazy. I also noticed that the places where workers spoke to customers were draped with plastic sheets. I thought this was all strange, but no-one bothered to explain. In the COVID crisis I was just someone who didn’t check his email.
They told me to go home.
In the weeks and months that followed, I had some pretend work at home for weeks, and then I was sent back to work in the pandemic, and then I lost my job, and then I got another one, and then the first employer hired me back, but now we don’t need to move to that small city. Also, during that time, my father died, and then my mother-in-law. Also, one of my sons lost his job, from corporate downsizing, and then he got another one.
My story is not over yet, I expect some big changes, and I will need to restart. When I meet old friends, we trade stories about our crazy COVID year, and they have stories as good as mine. Recently, we ate in a restaurant and the manager thanked us several times for visiting his place. I got the impression that they were close to closing down the business.
So how complicated is your COVID story? Everyone’s life has changed in some big way. We all have one thing in common; we need to start over. Maybe we don’t want to, but we don’t have a choice, just like growing older.
There are consultants and counsellors who specialize in helping us to change and start over. We don’t have to endorse them to know that they are in the business of getting us restarted. We need change and a restart so badly, that our need is a profit focus for consultant corporations. We need their help:
You probably feel it, like me and my friends. Everything changed, and now we need a new start. The reasons can be personal, I thought my father could live another ten years. In the big picture, COVID has ruined large parts of the economy. Do you know where you will be working, a year from now?
We get used to stability and progress and it’s a rude lesson that the end has come and we need to restart. We are not the first ones; this is an old religious idea. Bible history is full of wars and rude changes, for example. Change seems more normal than stability, in the old stories. In those times, some severely stressed people had a message from God; “Do not remember the former things nor consider the things of old. See, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not be aware of it?” (Isaiah 43: 18 and 19) That reminds me of the house that I almost bought.
Welcome to 2021, change is coming to you. We didn’t plan for this.
If you are like me, and you think normal and stable is good, it’s easy to miss the point that we are supposed to change. We are supposed to start over. When I read the Bible, it is filled with that message. We all need to restart. We needed that before, but now change has come on us without our permission.
In history, ancient prophets were told about change; that was a common message. One man, Jeremiah, was told to go to a potter’s house to watch what was happening. He watched a lump of clay form, and then break, and then reform. In the end, the potter remade what he wanted.
That was a picture of us. There is a spiritual side to the turmoil in the world; we are being changed for a reason. On this Easter weekend, the story is about a teacher who talked about God and who told people how to be better. He was suddenly arrested and executed, and then he came out of his tomb and started all over again. He was the one who told us “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains a single kernel; but if it dies it produces a great harvest.” (John 12:24)
We have no progress without change. Things die and new things grow.
Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was making something on the wheel. Yet the vessel that he made of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter? says the Lord. As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. (Jeremiah 18: 3 to 6)