What's Happening

Back to normal . . . Are we sure?

Posted on April 9, 2021

Opinion piece by Jim Reuter, Executive Director


So here we are, one year later and still under the “pandemic”. What a year! Better, yes…vaccines are getting out there and people are getting more comfortable (and excited) to get out and get back to “normal”. But I pose this question…is that what we want?

I consider myself a Christian and of course I believe there is a higher power and I believe that that higher power doesn’t want “normal” again, which in my mind, through this tragedy, we have been able to find some light…and in my business, finding light at the end of the tunnel is what gets us through. That and hope.

But what is “normal” or should I say what was “normal”? Normal was commuting to the work every day and on the way in and on the way out…heavy traffic. Normal was working 10-12 hours a day, trying to get home and get the kids to band practice, softball practice, soccer practice, etc. sometimes two or more kids to two or more locations and oh yeah…we need to eat dinner, we’ll do that at 8pm or later, watch a little television, play on our devices or check work emails (again) go to bed and do it all over again tomorrow.

As long as I mentioned that I am a Christian, let’s talk church. Pre-pandemic, get up, drive as fast as we could to get to mass on time, stay the hour and then head home or to another practice or game…phew! Now, church is something that people are craving as they have had to attend virtually (until recently) and mass times are busting at the seams. Church is that thing that when we have it we take it for granted and when it’s harder to get to and when we think we need some extra help (like during a pandemic) we pay more attention. If you’re anything like me, the relationship I have built with God these last 12 months is stronger than it’s ever been and just as a side note…it works.

Back to “normal”. I drive into work around 6:30am and observe, as the weather gets nicer, people walking on the trails and sidewalks, riding their bikes, walking their dogs, jogging. People are outside more now than ever and the parks and playgrounds have kids on them. Pickleball is everywhere and kids, yes I said kids…are playing outside!

This pandemic, like you I’m sure, has shown us how to slow down, how to appreciate our families and friends, people as a whole. How to read a book, take up a new hobby, learn an instrument, ride a bike again, adopt a dog, get some fresh air and get dirty. The weather is breaking here in the Midwest and the times I have visited my local garden center, I have not been able to find a parking place. Which to me indicates that as soon as Mother Nature allows, you will see people in their yards like never before. I have been part of a virtual cooking group (now in person) this whole time and have met a steady group of friends every Wednesday morning for coffee and that will not stop, the job will just have to wait.

So I ask again…do you want to go back to what we considered “normal”? Slow down, smell the flowers, cook and eat a great meal with your family and friends and I think you will find the answer.

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