This year has been unlike any we can remember—and one we’ll never forget. We’ve been stretched and tested, and in the process, we’ve learned more about ourselves and our world. It has been a year of adjustments, disappointments, and canceled events. Even worse, it has been a year of loss, as many of us have lost loved ones. Sadly, no one has been left untouched by this global pandemic.
As a college president in the Midwest said of his students at the start of the outbreak: “They will put up with absence and isolation … , and they will redouble their efforts to achieve the best things. They are determined to convert this disruption into an opportunity for excellence.”
That’s not the typical way of looking at disruption or tragedy. Most of the time, we just want to minimize the damage, heal as much as possible, and try to return to normal, even if we still have to carry some scars. But could there really be something better than “normal” ahead for us? Can we “convert this disruption into an opportunity for excellence”?
For example, could our experiences make us more compassionate or more loving—what the Bible calls the “more excellent way”? Perhaps, as we remember some of the isolation we felt during lockdowns, we will find ways to reach out to people who (for whatever reasons) might still feel isolated. As we reflect on the generosity of neighbors who shared with us when grocery shelves were bare, we can find ways to share what we have with others in need. As we think of the innovations, large and small, that have helped us push through our difficulties, we can thank the medical personnel on the front lines and in the laboratories, who worked day and night to facilitate everything from ventilators to vaccines.
And perhaps most important, as we remember those who are no longer with us, we can consider how they would want us to go forward with our lives. What kind of excellence could we pursue in their memory?
Without question, the experiences of the past year will change us. We will never truly be “back to normal.” But maybe normal is not what we want anyway, as long as “an opportunity for excellence” is within reach.
June 13, 2021
Broadcast Number 4,787
The Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Let All the World in Every Corner Sing
Morning Has Broken
Gaelic melody; arr. Mack Wilberg
In the Garden
Austin Miles; arr. Ryan Murphy
Over the Rainbow, from The Wizard of Oz
Harold Arlen; arr. Arthur Harris
How Firm a Foundation
Attributed to J. Ellis; arr. Mack Wilberg