The new normal

We use that phrase a lot. There has been a lot of “new normal” to adjust to for most of us this year.

Beloved NCCF colleagues retired or moved on to new opportunities. Valuable board members rotated off the board or passed away.

In October, we moved NCCF’s HQs offices. That meant a lot of new normals for all of us, including but of course not limited to: a new, different commute; fewer walls, more glass; new equipment and technology. It’s all new and beautiful, yet it still requires a bit of adjustment.

Also in October, many of us experienced a horrendous hurricane in Matthew and even more horrendous flooding after. The new normal for so many of our neighbors in eastern North Carolina means going from a home to no home. It certainly puts most of our adjustments in total perspective.

The most dramatic new normal faces our friends in Princeville, where flood victims may not be able to rebuild. Ever. They are not only homeless but also possibly without a town. These residents may have to find a totally new house and hamlet. Their new normal could literally be off the map.

In November, regardless of your party affiliation if any, we ushered in a new normal with a new president-elect. Happy or sad about this, there will be changes and adjustments. Same with statewide and local elections.

Despite all these major adjustments, there is one constant, and that is of course change. Finding the new normal is oddly one of the few things on which we can all depend. It is normal.  

And then there are the things that never change.

One of my favorite constants is the total generosity of the people of North Carolina. No matter the disaster or calamity, you can count on the fact that our neighbors in all directions are going to share what they have with those who have lost. Like the flood waters, they rise – but to help.

We had people in North Carolina who lost homes, cars and possessions who gave to our NCCF Disaster Relief Fund and then turned around to also give to the NCCF Chairman’s Challenge fundraiser just a few weeks later. I wish we could devote a special donor page on our website to acknowledge generosity under duress, but true to form, many ask for anonymity.

Something else that never changes: the willingness of our NCCF team to help. Again, folks without power post-Matthew in storm-ravaged areas themselves went the extra mile to help those in need. One regional director took it upon herself to personally deliver supplies and made arrangements to see that other needed medical equipment reached its destination, despite having no power herself. Realizing our need to get out front and tell the story quickly, many texted me photos of storm damage and flooding over the weekend so we could tell and illustrate the story as we reactivated the NCCF Disaster Relief Fund.

So many times I will walk past a desk in our offices and hear, “How can I help?” A plea for assistance from a team member nearly always results in: “Be glad to; when do you need it?” This is especially prevalent now, with many staring at looming deadlines but shorter work weeks. Not all organizational cultures can boast this norm we enjoy at NCCF.

Work deadlines aside, the holidays can be hard on many people for lots of reasons. We try to think of those who are alone and lonely; sick or dying; without necessities, let alone the trimmings. For many the season’s glad tidings and good cheer pack a one-two punch they could do without. Normal holiday glee can be painful for some.

I will end my blog with a suggestion that we look outside our normal circles and comfort zones this season and do something for someone who might benefit from this extra effort. I am not preaching. I need this reminder myself to make this part of my new normal in the New Year.

Happy holidays and a warm 2017.