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Last Monday morning, my alarm went off at 6:15AM. Soon after, Cocoa was licking my face, telling me it was time to get up. I took her out, put her back in, then I got changed into my running clothes. I put on my brand-new pair of running shoes, carefully tying the laces. I grabbed my new Aftershokz headphones, a welcome relief after running with big, clunky headphones for two years! I grabbed my keys and drove over to the school. It was completely dark and there were just a few cars around. The wind was blowing as I stepped out of my car, locked it, and headed toward the gate that would get me onto the black, seven-lane track. My stomach was fluttering. My heart was beating fast. I was a bit scared, nervous, and anxious. After all, this would be my first time in about three months that I was going to be running again. Would I still enjoy running? Would I be slower than I was before? Do my legs remember what to do? Could my mind and body both handle the short intervals of running that I was about to attempt?
Ready or not, it was time to run again. I started my Garmin watch and took off like I used to do, just one leg in front of the other, looking to what is ahead. That first little bit of a running interval was daunting, but when I was finished, I remembered why I love to run. I remembered how I could clear my mind, enjoy the music, and run away from any problems that I knew I'd have to face that day. I remembered the feeling I get after a run, the feeling of a goal completed. I even remembered the feeling of soreness after a good run--I forgot some of those muscles existed!
Today marks seven months since March 13, 2020, when the country started shutting down for Coronavirus. There is still so much we don't know about it. There are still people with long-lasting effects after contracting the virus. Some say it's political and that it will all be over after the election. Others are afraid to go outside because it's now flu season and the virus is still going around. There's frustrations around masks, doctor office protocols, and even sporting event limits. No matter where you stand on the entire Coronavirus situation, one thing is true--your life is not the same as it was seven months ago. The very way of living not just in this country but around the globe has changed drastically. It's hard to believe that over seven months ago, we weren't wearing masks, Zoom meetings were held by big companies that are spread out across the country and world, and you could go to the hospital to visit anyone you wanted without being put on an approved visitor list.
As much as we all want life to go back to "normal," I sometimes wonder if we will really be ready for it. We say we will be, but the way we have lived our lives over the last seven months has made an impact on us. Just like I was nervous getting back to running after just a three month break, I have a feeling that many of us will feel anxiety or fear going back to "normal" once coronavirus ends--whenever that may be! We may feel nervous about going shopping without a mask. We might feel anxious about hugging others or shaking hands again. Some may even feel nervous about going back out at all because we have been safe in our homes, in our bubbles. But one day, we will be back to normal and we will have to face it head on.
In those moments of fear, where we face an old known and a new unknown that we call "normal," we are not alone. We may feel anxious, nervous, or scared--and that's okay. But we can also feel strong, courageous, and filled with God's loving grace as we take a deep breath and take each day of "normal." I have hope that the day will be sooner, rather than later, and I hope that when the day comes when everything is "normal" again, we can be secure in our faith and trust Jesus in those scary moments.