Reengaging Community in Light of a “Better Normal”

Reengaging Community in Light of a “Better Normal”

Qwixx has become a favorite family game around our kitchen table lately. My husband and two daughters have played a lot of games together since March 2020. Card games, board games, dice games, dominoes and more games. As a result of playing so many games, we’ve talked a lot about game strategy—thinking through possibilities of what might happen and how to best position yourself to win. Often, the process involves figuring out what move the next person will make, and of course, you never really know. You have to make the best decision you can with the information you have. On many occasions, my husband, daughters and I have said, “if only I knew you were going to make that move, I would have made a different move.” Of course, hindsight is always 20/20.

If we knew in March 2020 what would occur over the next 15 months, we would have done things differently—possibly made other choices or prioritized things in a new way. But as the towel that hangs on the oven handle in my kitchen reminds me, “difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” Whenever there is a crisis (like a pandemic), the opportunity that comes with it is being to be able to reflect and evaluate where our priorities lie. As we see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, we hear conversations about the opportunity to “go back to normal.” However, it seems the realistic goal is never to go back to the way things were, but to examine and improve our lives to continue to head toward where Jesus leads.

In many ways, this is what COVID-19 has allowed us to do. As we begin to move into a new normal, we start to wrestle with the “better normal” that Jesus is calling his people to in this time. Being a university founded on Christ, at Fresno Pacific our hope lies in knowing the better normal includes:

  • Learning to be with Jesus more
  • Becoming more like Jesus
  • Doing more of what Jesus wants us to do

When something is missing, you get to realize how important it is. As we look forward to the fall semester, at being able to gather physically, host events, see colleagues and students face to face and have chances to engage the community more deeply, I look ahead with joy and optimism at all the opportunities to come. Opportunities to reach out to the community while pursuing the better normal. Seeing so many in the FPU community, students and colleagues alike, in person, is something many of you and I might say we took for granted before. 

 As we take time this summer to look back yet also look ahead, I hope you can reflect on the past 15 months and realize the opportunities and insights that have been gained in all that has been lost. If we can look back to the other side of this pandemic and see that this virus taught us how to love our neighbor more fully and appreciate being in community more frequently, then in the light of eternity we will have achieved the better normal.


Rebecca Bradley

Director of Public Relations and Community Engagement