Today a friend and I were reflecting on how irksome we find it to hear announcements in grocery stores and advertisements saying that these are “unprecedented times.”
After all, there have been epidemics and pandemics throughout history. Noting this isn’t to diminish the active challenge our world currently faces, but rather serves to contextualize it and put matters into perspective. My friend also remarked, “Imagine if you really believed that what is happening now was without precedent ever… then it would be much more terrifying.”
But if man is not the measure of reality, then how much more are particular men in a particular historical moment not the measure.
From dust we’ve come
And dust we are
And shall return
Be still my soul
And let it go
Just let it go
Glory to God
Glory to God
In the highest
– The Brilliance lyrics, “Dust We Are and Shall Return“
And so today I searched on YouTube, “These Are Not Unprecedented Times” and sure enough this video by Simon Sinek with that very title appeared:
Simon says, “We’ll reinvent ourselves. This is not unprecedented. This has happened many, many times in business. This one’s just a little more sudden. […] This is entirely new for me, but I’m not worried about what I do; I’m worried about why I do it. And I will find a job that helps me do that. I’ll make a job that helps me do that. And I expect the same of everyone.”
See, both are true: Our situation is not historically unprecedented and it is new for us. With this mindset, it becomes an opportunity for new ventures, new insights, new prayers, new relationships, new tasks, new plans. And even if we die, hopefully we’ll know why we were doing what we were doing all along.