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The Village Smith 11/20

by Pat Smith on November 20, 2020

Norms

Laura and I do not get out a whole lot during these pandemic days. We want to do our part to stay healthy and to help those around us do the same. In our part of Illinois, we have just entered into a new level of mitigation that once again is intended to help us all minimize our time with others for the sake of all. This means the Smith at-home life, like yours, is overwhelmingly the locus of our lives. Not much happens beyond our four walls. 

Because I operate almost exclusively at home, I’ve gotten quite used to the clothes that I wear there. Shirts are sometimes collared and sometimes not. Business casual slacks have given way to jeans. My preferred normal footwear is nothing. Going barefoot is right up my lifelong preferred alley. With cooler weather, I’ve begun to wear great wool socks Laura made for me or slippers.

Mentally, the slipper thing threw me a little a couple of weeks ago. I left our place for some necessary errand around town. I went into the hall of our building, down the flights of stairs to the lobby and out to the car in the parking lot. As I neared the car, I realized I still had my slippers on. I was so caught up in life as usual, it never even crossed my mind to check what was on my feet. I stood there for a moment, calculated the number of people who would see me, the likelihood of someone noticing and kept going. Thirty minutes later, I was home. To my knowledge, no one noticed a thing. Well, maybe someone did, but they decided to have mercy on me.

I’m guessing all of us have a fascinating combination of norms at work in our lives right now, old and new. The old norms include so many daily habits and realities, likely too numerous to even notice or count. The new ones take many forms, some which we might accept easily, some that might bring challenge at a variety of levels. I wonder what all of this is forming in us and around us? I’m reminded of what is usually referred to as the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” May the good norms of God always embrace us and take us through to all that is best. 

It’s good to be in touch in these remote days, 

Pat

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