On Tuesday, I mentioned that our state was going to begin reopening today. I not only wondered what all that might entail but reflected on how quickly “the winds” change. Not ten minutes after I published that post, my husband called to say that even the reopening news had changed. The state would begin its return to “normal” – well, most of it. But not where I live. Four (of 95) counties in Virginia will remain closed. Under stay at home orders. And, although you cannot really tell it from all the traffic, I am in one of those four counties. Sigh. Truthfully, I cannot keep up with change. Nor do I know when (dare I say, if) we will return to normal.
Normal. I suppose most are referring to “life before quarantine” when they talk of returning to normal. I understand what they mean. Stores open for business. Restaurants and other entertainment available. Grocery shopping without a mask or gloves. Being able to go to church. To be together. To enjoy fellowship – in groups more than ten. I am eager for those things as well. With that as a definition, I long for normal. But there are some things from quarantine life that I hope to continue…that I want to follow me when I return to “normal.” These are just a few:
* less commitment – on my calendar and even on my daily to-do list. In the past, I’ve made the mistake of thinking commitment (even on paper) was a reflection of productive. That busyness was a virtue. In truth, I have been much more productive – and in much more satisfying ways – with much less on my calendar and far fewer check marks on a to-do list.
* more gratitude – especially for the smaller things. I have so appreciated slower mornings with my husband, long walks with the dogs, actual phone calls with friends, and even a relaxing evening routine and a regular bedtime. I hope they continue and that I will appreciate them. It is far too easy for me to overlook and take for granted the simple pleasures of my daily routine. I’ve actually noticed them – and the joy they give me – these last weeks.
* real communication – in complete sentences:) Texting is fast and easy (and I’m not even that fast with it). Emails are easy and efficient. And even when I have the time, I am often lazy with actually talking. Especially on the phone. Whether in person or over the phone, real voice communication can never compare to texts, tweets, or other digital connections.
* an expanded “bubble – maybe even less personal space! I suppose I am an introvert living in an extrovert world. I could easily hunker down at home. Even isolate myself. But for many different reasons, I do think this is wise or what I am called to do. But when I am out, I become very protective of my personal space. I keep people at arm’s length…and then some. And not because of a virus. However, lately, I found myself more aware of others. Not just of others’ needs but simply noticing those around me. I pray God will use this awareness to help me continue seeing this world as He sees them. Seeing, noticing and loving them.
I am past my five minutes of thought for today’s Five Minute Friday (and the prompt “normal), and I could probably continue. But let’s pray the impact of these last weeks will continue to impact us…even after our restrictions are lifted. Whenever that might be! If yours are already lifted – enjoy! and let me know what lessons you hope to continue. Happy Friday!