This past Christmas, I was sitting on the couch drinking my coffee out of my husband’s favorite mug. He won’t mind after later today once he opens up his presents. I got him what has been his new favorite mug.
My husband is still in bed. I gave a peck on the cheek and whisper in the ear to start the wake-up process. He is such a night owl. I am not even sure when he went to bed last night. But it is Christmas morning, so I will let him sleep. Tucker, our cocker spaniel, was outside chewing a bone. He doesn’t get those very often either. This rawhide was a special Christmas treat. But without fail, the moment I settle in on the couch and pull out my journal to write, there is a bang on the screen door. More like loud vibration, as he hooks his claws in the metal grate on the door.
Now, with the dog in, I am settled back on the couch. In the peace and quiet of our new home, which we purchased at the beginning of this pandemic, I can’t imagine even dreaming up this version of our reality we are living in. As it is Christmas morning, texts from family members start to trickle in, wishing us a “Merry Christmas!” The family I would have seen under normal circumstances. But this is the “new normal”.
However, my brain keeps catching on “new”. Because when does it stop being new? In all reality, it is not new anymore. I have been working from home since March. The mask mandate went into effect in June. Church services are still online only. It breaks my heart to see the pastor deliver beautiful, meaningful messages to the vacuum of the internet. I can’t help but spy the view count. And when the service hits a lull, as most church services do, I am tempted to exit out. I never thought I would miss sitting in a hard, uncomfortable pew, trying to keep my focus in church.
But “new”? When is this no longer considered new? For me saying this is the new normal makes it all feel temporary. Which it is, but it isn’t. Because even though this will end, we have no idea when that will be.
So I now reject the adjective “new” to the situation we find ourselves in and claim this strange time to be what my life is. A drawer full of masks. A home office in my living room. This is my life now. Reality sucks. But in the face of suck, I can start seeing silver linings again. Instead of just waiting for the day we get back to “normal”.