Back To… Normal??

We just watched Stephen Colbert’s Late Show from June 14, where he was able to enjoy his first live studio audience in 15 months. Being the mush ball that I am, I admit I shed a few tears of joy when I saw all the excitement. So much love, so much positive energy!! It was really refreshing. Almost like… normal!!

So what is “normal” anyway? Several years ago it was not unusual to hear someone say, “normal is just a cycle on the washing machine.” Ha ha… well maybe not… maybe actually profound. The pandemic has certainly turned pretty much everyone’s “normal” upside down. Now that it’s diminishing, in much of the U.S. at least, we can breathe a sigh of relief.

At least for now.

Here in Michigan, masks are still required in medical facilities, but most businesses seem to have removed their “No Mask, No Entry” signs. I’ve actually been to the grocer and other stores without a mask, and at first it felt rather strange. I’ve even eaten at a restaurant a couple times! Again, no mask. But I still sanitize my hands as soon as I get back in the car.

Still not ready to go to the movies yet. However, here in Beautiful West Michigan we have a very safe place to watch a movie on the big screen: The Getty 4 Drive In. That’s right folks, the drive in has been thriving here for some time, and especially during the pandemic. I actually have a date to go with my Beautiful Girlfriend tomorrow (I’m writing this on Thursday night).

We are both still pretty careful really. God only knows what kind of variants will show up in our midst; and whether the vaccine will actually prevent us from being infected. I certainly hope so… scientists have assured us and I feel fairly confident we’ll be OK. But just in case, when it comes to close personal contact as in hugging or even a handshake, our “normal” involves only people we know are vaccinated. And we pray for those who choose not to get the vaccine.

We pray for their safety.

Thankfully, I was able to retire just as the pandemic was beginning to rage. My Lovely Bride still works a couple days a week, but we are basically in retirement mode. Over the years, we talked about checking out Europe or maybe even just Hawaii when retirement came around. However, quarantine has blessed us with the ability to be grateful and content at home. So our dreams of foreign travel have been forever altered. Currently, our idea of a long trip is driving all the way to the distant land of Wisconsin later this summer. Although we’ve heard it’s fairly safe, neither of us is interested in getting on an airplane. We’ll probably drive to Florida some time, but I just looked at the latest COVID map and there are still some “hot spots” between here and there. Guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

So whatever “normal” is will continue to change for us I suppose. And that’s very OK. The bottom line is that we really are very blessed; and have learned to make gratitude our attitude. If anything, COVID has strengthened our resolve to be thankful for what we have, and our list of wants has lost importance. I mean really, who’s to say that there won’t be yet another pandemic down the road?

We certainly hope not, but God only knows!!

And now some more mush ball stuff. I would not be able to imagine what it would be like to lose someone close to me from COVID (God bless those of you who have).

This song tugs my heart. And this version is truly exquisite.